OPINION: EDITOR’S COMMENT

The MMS agency figures made for fascinating reading. Most interesting to me was the sight of no InterPublic Group agency in the top ten - a situation I don’t believe has existed in any major market in the world previously.

The MMS agency figures made for fascinating reading. Most

interesting to me was the sight of no InterPublic Group agency in the

top ten - a situation I don’t believe has existed in any major market in

the world previously.



Admittedly McCann-Erickson is 11, Lowe Howard-Spink 12 and Ammirati

Puris Lintas 13, but the point stands.



Older lags than I recall a time when McCann-Erickson was number one here

(run by a certain Phil Geier!). Even I can remember Lowes being in the

top five, if not the top three. In living memory, Lintas has hovered on

the fringe of the top ten in the MMS ratings.



It’s a situation that has to be unacceptable. But what will Geier do

about it? Of the three major advertising groups (IPG, WPP and Omnicom)

IPG’s strategy towards such matters appears to be the least clear.



Questions abound - not least about who will succeed Geier himself. A

successor is unlikely to come from within. The venerable finance

director, Gene Beard, is more likely to retire and it seems McCanns’

John Dooner, Ammirati Puris Lintas’s Martin Puris, or our own Frank

Lowe, don’t want the job.



Omnicom and WPP seem to be forging ahead - particularly in the

below-the-line arena. While it’s true that IPG has recently put together

the interesting Octagon sports marketing consultancy, it appears to

exist slightly more in isolation within IPG than it might within the

other groups.



Moreover, while acquisition keeps Wall Street and the City happy, there

is still a need for genuine organic growth of the kind that BBDO, DDB

Needham and Young & Rubicam currently appear to be enjoying.



McCanns and the Lowe Group both remain profitable, but continue to make

rather uneasy sisters within the family. APL has been badly holed by the

Compaq loss - an account that had been used to trumpet Martin Puris’s

global revolution.



In the past there have been rumours about merging Lintas and Lowes -

which is a recipe for disaster. There’s been talk of floating McCanns

too, which may prove more viable. Perhaps it’s just that the IPG centre

is less publicly active than Omnicom and WPP.



Let’s get this in perspective: other people should have some of IPG’s

problems. However, someone has to get a grip in the UK, which remains

for Americans the gateway to Europe. In six months’ time McCanns or

Lowes may have snuck back into tenth, but that would not be good

enough.



Size may not matter as much as it used to, but we all know it’s a fib to

pretend that it doesn’t matter at all.



It’s difficult to believe, but the men’s magazine market didn’t really

exist ten years ago. Then along came Arena, followed by Esquire and GQ,

the iconoclastic Loaded and the extraordinary success of FHM.



To date, I’ve criticised FHM’s content and attitude - even its TV

advertising, so I know nothing.



Now it has posted a phenomenal ABC of 775,000. Even Campaign choosing it

as Medium of the Year couldn’t bugger it up. Words rarely written, but

hats off to Emap.



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