Between the Lines: A do-or-die step for DFGW?

Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters is a classic case of an agency that missed its moment. As its peers sold out to bigger agencies or holding companies, DFGW eschewed offers on price and principle.

Now the founders are drifting away and the current management, which has bought into a slice of the company, has been the subject of unsettling speculation (Hugh Cameron, the joint managing director, was close to bailing out to take a job with Coca-Cola).

Yet Cameron and his fellow joint MD, Tom Vick, are experienced executives in a market too thin on talent. And, no doubt, DFGW carries a rather cheaper price-tag than in its heyday.

There is little doubt that the agency needs a resuscitation plan and the talks with Lowe (page 1) provide a potential lifeline. The two agencies share General Motors business - though both are vulnerable on the account - and Lowe needs planning and management talent.

Ultimately, though, this seems like a do-or-die option for DFGW rather than an imperative strategy for growth at Lowe.

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