Saw Publicis Media boss Steve King performing at a conference last summer, with admirable sang froid given that Publicis’ media agencies were losing massive bits of business left, right and centre.
The tide seems to have turned though and now Publicis has landed MillerCoors $1bn plus media business (if you include the UK and other countries outside the US) as a consequence, it seems, of MillerCoors reverting wholly to Molson Coors following the giant AB InBev/SAB Miller merger. Beer brands seem to change their ownership as often as NFL franchises. The business moves from Interpublic’s Initiative, which is looking a touch under-powered.
MillerCoors is moving to something called Connect, a new Publicis entity headquartered in Chicago. These new names are rather tiresome – why don’t they just say it’s going to Publicis Media – but all part of new Publicis Groupe boss Arthur Sadoun’s much-hyped “power of one,” a variation on WPP’s Team this-and-that.
More and more big advertisers are picking a holding company rather than an individual agency to handle their business. Even though the holding companies insist on producing new “agency” names, to try to persuade us – and their clients – that a shiny new quasi-autonomous entity has been created. They tend not to last.
Publicis’ Zenith has kept the business in the UK, which they’ll be more than happy about. But they’ll know, as well as anyone, that the name of the biggest game in town – global accounts – has changed dramatically and it’s the holding companies making the running.