Shanghai surprises: VW reviews DDB in China, Publicis Groupe folds Publicis, Burnett and Saatchi into one

Volkswagen is thought to be on the brink of leaving long-serving worldwide agency DDB in China, its second biggest market after Europe. Omnicom-owned DDB has had a pretty iron grip on the VW account for 60 years although it’s been handled recently in the US by Deutsch LA.

China is now the second biggest ad market in the world after the US and predicted, by some, to overtake the US in the next three or four years. Losing VW would be a big blow to DDB and its owner in China.

Also, my spies tell me, that Publicis Groupe, which recently re-organised itself in four ‘hubs,’ is going to merge its big three agency agency networks – Publicis Worldwide, Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi into one in Shanghai – presumably Publicis Communications, the creative agency hub now run by Arthur Sadoun.

This seems an obvious enough thing to do in China, where the various agency brands mean less. But it may prove a template for Publicis agencies elsewhere in the world. At best it seems that some famous agency names are destined to be no more than white label/conflict offerings outside their heartlands of the US and UK.


Saatchi & Saatchi Shanghai tells me that: “The creative agencies will not be merged into one, each agency brand under the new arrangement, for example Publicis Worldwide or Saatchi & Saatchi, will keep its own culture and specific approach to creativity and services. They will also all continue to grow and expand as individual agencies.”

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