The big story of the past two weeks has been uber-successful New York (and Sydney and Auckland) agency Droga5’s decision to venture into further territories; initially London.
But do such micro-networks really have a chance of succeeding?
BBH tried it with a string of half a dozen agencies across across the world and it didn’t really work; eventually a put-up-or-shut-up offer from Brazil’s Neogama led to the absorption of BBH’s network (and BBH) into Publicis Groupe.
Wieden+Kennedy is trying much the same approach, with, on the face of it, flourishing businesses in London and Amsterdam (although W+K doesn’t have a fall-back as BBH did in 49 per cent owner PG).
W+K is almost there (assuming the financials are in place) but it will be disappointed not to have won Procter & Gamble’s Gillette – which eventually moved from BBDO to WPP’s Grey. Does this mean that micros aren’t big enough for the biggest clients?
Droga5 is clearly undeterred and its chances of creating a convincing ‘alternative’ network will be helped by its strength in its core market of New York (which BBH never quite had) and the fact that Dave Droga (left) is an Aussie who made his name in London. Which helps, culturally.
Even so it’s a big ask; let’s hope Dave’s financial advisors can raise the required funds without leaving the agency open to an opportunistic bid from WPP or Omnicom.
***McCann won lots of Webbys, thanks chiefly to the sterling efforts of McCann Melbourne, and there are other signs that the network – the mainstay of Interpublic – is beginning to inject some creativity into its enormous global output. This is presumably some of global CCO Linus Karlsson’s doing.
It’s impossible to turn a great big omnivorous beast like McCann (eats everything) into a Droga5 or W+K. But a competitive McCann should keep competing creativos on their toes. New boss Harris Diamond, a PR man by trade, has made a good start it seems. Maybe, unlike predecessor Nick Brien, he understands the benefits of masterly inactivity.
***The scandals besetting the UK’s BBC and indeed other broadcasters show no signs of going away.
Now it’s no surprise that showbiz types like getting their leg over but a bit alarming to learn that, in the cases of Jimmy Savile and the slightly less repellent Stuart Hall, the British Broadcasting Corporation facilitated their illegal activities. Hall, apparently, had a ‘medical’ room at the BBC’s Manchester studios at his disposal.
Don’t tell me that nobody in high places at the Beeb in the 1970s and 80s had suspicions about this. There were lots of seasoned showbiz types around at the time.
Alternative networks should always have a chance against the big boys.
As for the other matter “Don’t tell me that nobody in high places at the Beeb in the 1970s and 80s had suspicions about this”. As far as I can see everyone knew – Savile and Hall are the tip of the iceberg – and we’ll see attention focusing on them, but the matter goes back a lot earlier and a lot higher.