Microsoft, one of the world’s biggest advertisers with a spend comfortably ahead of $1bn, is about to review everything, according to a report in Ad Age.
And I’m sure the people ‘familiar with the matter,’ as they say these days, are correct.
But how crazy is this?
Microsoft’s largely unloved long-serving CEO Steve Ballmer (left) has announced he’s to stand own, when they find someone else to do it. So why lumber the new guy (who might be a gal) with such important decisions made by the old regime? But that’s what power-crazed execs do these days.
Apparently Microsoft is looking for a ‘holding company’ solution (everybody else seems to have one these days, so why not Microsoft?) And they’re all involved. Publicis Groupe probably has the most business with WPP not far behind. Interpublic used to be in the box seat but has slipped back, as it does. MDC Partner’s Crispin Porter is a big TV agency. Omnicom isn’t currently involved much (TBWA handles Apple) but sure as hell will be when it merges with Publicis Groupe some time later this year.
WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell said, when the POG merger was announced, that he thought it would offer opportunities to minnows like him (only joking Martin) through client conflict. Microsoft’s strange decision to review now – in advance of hiring a new CEO – must be beyond his wildest dreams.
JWT in the US used to handle a big chunk of Microsoft. Y&R has some substantial business. Who will Sorrell put forward as the cornerstone of his about-to-be-announced ‘Team Microsoft?’ Could just as easily be Ogilvy (although it’s got IBM) or Grey. Heaven help them if they don’t win it.