A VIEW FROM PEERS AND RIVALS: The global networks keep a close watch on each other's business strategies, but here they say how they really view competitors

WPP
ARE THERE ANY NOTABLE SPECIALISATIONS WITHIN THE GROUPS?
"It has such a diverse range of companies within the group, from
advertising to research to brand architecture. Research is the area that
stands out."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S GEOGRAPHICAL STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"It has all the top markets covered off but outside of that it quickly
falls off. Look at the detail of Eastern Europe or the Middle East, for
example. It doesn't have the ownership or the quality of agencies that
you'd expect." ... "Ogilvy is the model international network."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S OPERATING STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"It has an impressive array of disciplines. But do all the bits add up?
Are they really integrated?" ... "It claims that 35 per cent of new
business comes from cross- referrals from other WPP companies. If true,
it's impressive." ... "Y&R has yet to be properly integrated into the
group."
WHAT IS THE BALANCE AS REGARDS GLOBAL CLIENTS VERSUS LOCAL CLIENTS?
"Within a couple of percentage points, all the holding companies are
pretty much the same on this. The client conflict arithmetic makes it
so."
IF THEY HAVE THEM, WHERE ARE THEIR POWERHOUSE AGENCIES?
"This is one of WPP's blind spots - the management of power and the
perception of power within its networks."

OMNICOM
ARE THERE ANY NOTABLE SPECIALISATIONS WITHIN THE GROUPS?
"Creativity is its thing. Everything is done with a creative
orientation."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S GEOGRAPHICAL STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"Its agencies are largely in good shape in all the key areas." ... "The
way that BBDO has grown is a telling example - it has always gone out
and bought the best creative talent available in the market at any given
time."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S OPERATING STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"The succession at BBDO is an issue it has to face sooner or later.
Managing expectations is an issue too - it has spent a fantastic length
of time growing every year."
WHAT IS THE BALANCE AS REGARDS GLOBAL CLIENTS VERSUS LOCAL CLIENTS?
"A legacy of its previous strategy of acquiring distinctive and creative
agencies on a local basis has meant it has been better at winning big
local accounts."
IF THEY HAVE THEM, WHERE ARE THEIR POWERHOUSE AGENCIES?
"It has a greater geographical spread of good creative agencies than any
other holding company."

INTERPUBLIC
ARE THERE ANY NOTABLE SPECIALISATIONS WITHIN THE GROUPS?
"No specialisations worth noting."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S GEOGRAPHICAL STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"Lowe is very patchy indeed."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S OPERATING STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"The McCann network is excellent but there are weaknesses in Lowe." ...
"IPG should be strong in media but it struggles to bring quality of
thinking to bear." ... "From the outside, the McCann culture feels all
wrong. There is a mechanical approach but it seems to work."
WHAT IS THE BALANCE AS REGARDS GLOBAL CLIENTS VERSUS LOCAL CLIENTS?
"The culture is all about managing big multinationals on a network
basis. It likes to pretend otherwise but the agenda is dictated by the
global clients."
IF THEY HAVE THEM, WHERE ARE THEIR POWERHOUSE AGENCIES?
"Creative hotspots come and go. I don't think anyone would particularly
say that McCann had a creative strength in London - but then, that's not
its thing."

BCOM3
ARE THERE ANY NOTABLE SPECIALISATIONS WITHIN THE GROUPS?
"Leo and his apples."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S GEOGRAPHICAL STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"To say its properties are patchy on a geographical basis isn't saying
much as no-one has ever cracked this nor do they need to. Clients have a
relationship with the agency in their lead country. They don't worry
about how network stuff gets done unless it becomes a really obvious
problem."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S OPERATING STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"Bcom3 was the holding company that was most divorced from the agencies
it owned and the reality it faced on the ground."
WHAT IS THE BALANCE AS REGARDS GLOBAL CLIENTS VERSUS LOCAL CLIENTS?
"Burnett and D'Arcy are both accomplished multi-market players."
IF THEY HAVE THEM, WHERE ARE THEIR POWERHOUSE AGENCIES?
"Definitely in the US."

DENTSU
ARE THERE ANY NOTABLE SPECIALISATIONS WITHIN THE GROUPS?
"Sushi. Kabuki theatre. Sumo wrestling. Earthquakes. Geishas. Kamikaze
pilots. Tsunami. Kimonos. Other Japanese things."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S GEOGRAPHICAL STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"Dentsu isn't a network, it's a Japanese agency. No-one takes it
seriously outside Japan. It lives entirely in its own cultural world."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S OPERATING STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"Too Japanese. It has been presented with two or three opportunities to
break out into the rest of the world but it just hasn't taken them. It
seems to be too mind-blowingly scary for it."
WHAT IS THE BALANCE AS REGARDS GLOBAL CLIENTS VERSUS LOCAL CLIENTS?
"Japanese only."
IF THEY HAVE THEM, WHERE ARE THEIR POWERHOUSE AGENCIES?
"Tokyo. Intermittent rivalry between the salarymen on the fourth floor
and the salarymen on the fifth floor."

PUBLICIS
ARE THERE ANY NOTABLE SPECIALISATIONS WITHIN THE GROUPS?
"Not enough."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S GEOGRAPHICAL STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"Publicis on its own is pretty Euro-centric. That's why the Bcom3 deal
was such a coup. In the US it's now two or three in pure advertising
terms. It also has the potential to be the only global group because of
its agreement with Dentsu, though who knows if anything will come of
that."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S OPERATING STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"The cultural glue the binds a group of agencies into a true network
could be improved in the short term. Publicis hasn't really got its head
round the multidisciplinary and integrated thing yet." ... "It has two
absolutely excellent media networks." ... "It's too reliant on
traditional advertising."
WHAT IS THE BALANCE AS REGARDS GLOBAL CLIENTS VERSUS LOCAL CLIENTS?
"Still retains a French flavour, though Bcom3 will give it new
international account management strengths."
IF THEY HAVE THEM, WHERE ARE THEIR POWERHOUSE AGENCIES?
"Chicago. It will be interesting to see how it addresses the Leo Burnett
Chicago legacy."

HAVAS
ARE THERE ANY NOTABLE SPECIALISATIONS WITHIN THE GROUPS?
"None that anyone can think of apart from squabbling and indiscipline."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S GEOGRAPHICAL STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"Euro struggles outside France. Arnold is a bizarre organisation with
WCRS sort of part of it somewhere." ... "It has lost touch with its
peers in terms of marketing services groups." ... "A collection of
maverick individuals never quite adds up to a network."
WHAT ARE THE GROUP'S OPERATING STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
"There are only three leagues here. If you're in the third it's only a
hobby. Havas is in the third division." ... "Havas is going nowhere and
I can't see anyone wanting to buy it." ... "Strategically it is at a
dead end." ... "I don't think anyone can really believe the amount of
infighting there is at Havas."
WHAT IS THE BALANCE AS REGARDS GLOBAL CLIENTS VERSUS LOCAL CLIENTS?
"Perception is that it remains European in its focus."
IF THEY HAVE THEM, WHERE ARE THEIR POWERHOUSE AGENCIES?
"I bet Euro's London office got a shock when they opened Campaign and
saw an ad for their Paris office. Paris thinks it's a powerhouse. I
don't know what London thinks about that."

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