Dentsu International has joined WPP, Interpublic and Publicis Groupe in acting in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, in its case transferring ownership of its joint venture operations to Russian partners (without specifying who they are.) Dentsu also has 500 “affiliate employees” in Ukraine.
Dentsu says: “We are in the process of transferring ownership of our joint venture in Russia to this local partner who will operate independently moving forward.
“More than 90% of the business in Russia services local clients. We have not made this decision lightly as we have 1,500 people in Russia who have supported Dentsu and our clients over many years.
“(We) stand unequivocally with Ukraine and the global community who are calling for the restoration of peace”
Dentsu has been in Russia for 25 years. This leaves just Omnicom, which reportedly has the biggest operation in Russia of all the ad holding companies, to declare its position. Havas says it has no operations in Russia although owner Vivendi doubtless does.
Omnicom says: “We have 2000 colleagues in Russia and are continually assessing the most appropriate course of action that takes into account the gravity of the situation and the welfare of our people.”
Untangling these affiliate relationships is doubtless a tricky business with legal consequences in some cases. But the global agency business’ so-called leaders have shown anything but leadership over Ukraine, with the notable exception of WPP which was first to act.