Hard on the heels of good 2019 numbers from Omnicom, US rival Interpublic (IPG) has produced the goods too: organic growth of 3.3 per cent for the year (2.9 per cent in Q4) with profits of $656m compared to 2018’s $619m.
In Q4 US organic growth was 2.1 per cent compared to 4.1 per cent in international markets, showing that the US is still proving tough even for its home-grown contenders.
CEO Michael Roth says: “We are pleased to report strong fourth quarter performance, as well as full-year financial results that deliver on our targets. Our results again demonstrate the strength of our client-centric integrated model and the quality of our offerings. Our differentiated culture and strategy are key reasons our long-term trajectory has been so strong, which has helped us to deliver leading organic growth and margin improvement in recent years.”
Roth (below) also referred to the coronavirus outbreak, which is casting a shadow over business globally: “As we turn to our outlook for 2020, our first thoughts are ones of concern and support for our people, clients, and partners in China, and for everyone around the world contending with the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and are focused on the well-being and safety of our people, and are taking appropriate steps to protect them during this difficult period.”
IPG has consistently outperformed its rivals (Omnicom, WPP and Publicis are rather bigger) in recent years. The slight slowdown in Q4 may be of some concern.
But it’s interesting to compare the fortunes of Omnicom and IPG against Publicis and WPP, particuarly in the US where the two Europe-based ad holding companies have struggled recently (Publicis recently announced minus 2.3 per cent growth for the year, WPP has yet to report.)
It is also worth noting that, while WPP and Publicis are contending with the likes of Accenture Interactive in the business transformation game, IPG and Omnicom tend to stick to their knitting with strong agency brands although both also have sizeable data operations.