MAA holding company, media agency and person of the year

Publicis led the traditional ad holding companies in 2023 (so far, they still have to report full year figures) but David Droga’s Accenture Song has been the clear stand-out, reporting revenues earlier in the year up 14% from $14bn to $18bn. And this without a media agency, where most of the trad. holding companies’ revenue comes from (Accenture makes buckets from media measurement not buying.).

This would put Accenture Song roughly on a par with WPP, the long-time revenue leader.

Accenture Song, like other consultant-owned rivals like Deloitte Digital, has a huge specialist digital business but it’s still built around creative agencies: Droga5 which keeps its moniker, The Monkeys and Karmarama (as they were.)

This year it’s restructuring to four divisions, including creative in its marketing practice headed by Publicis Groupe refugee Annette King. Who’ll doubtless knock it into shape, should that be required.

It’s no mean achievement by Droga (above) and his team: he appears to have got this rather unlikely band singing in tune.

Omnicom’s OMG (home for OMD, Manning Gottlieb, PHD and Hearts & Science) pushed its nose firmly in front in the media agency stakes, winning Uber globally (Uber would probably be our Advertiser of the Year, if we had one), Beiersdrof in the US, retaining HSBC and winning new national lottery operator Allwyn in the UK.

You never actually know with media agencies, particular the big ones, what role price pays in such appointments. Not so long ago media agencies would take on big global accounts at virtually any price, reckoning they could make it up by broking (buying media at one price and selling it to clients at another) and other “services.”

Omnicom also bought digital commerce business Flywheel from Ascential for a whopping $900m, its biggest acquisition, suggesting media is now driving the holding company, once best-known for its creative networks.

Person of the Year could, as they say, be anyone but this year the award goes to Charlie Rudd, group CEO of Leo Burnett (one of our Agency of the Year contenders), Fallon and now also Publicis.Poke.

It wasn’t that long ago that Rudd, then CEO of WPP’s Ogilvy UK, found himself relegated to chief client officer in a bizarre reorganisation by new boss PR man Michael Frohlich (WPP does love a reorganisation.)

Annette King, another former Ogilvy boss and then queen of Publicis Groupe in the UK, snapped him up and the rest, as they say, is history. Now emperor Rudd (above) sits atop a pretty big empire, a testament, it seems, to an affable nature and the mysterious but invaluable abilities of a top notch account man.

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