AGENCIES: DM firms eye global stage

Direct marketing has traditionally been tackled on a

country-by-country basis, but this looks set to change as many players

gear themselves up for global accounts.

Full service agency Brann recently acquired French agency Communider and

has plans to move into Germany, Italy and Spain by the end of this year.

This growth is being aided by parent company, the Havas Group.

'There is definitely a trend towards more and bigger international

clients. To be really competitive you've got to be able to offer global

reach,' said John Shaw, MD of Brann Worldwide European agencies. Brann

has also created European business development director roles to service

its international clients.

Malcolm Speed, CEO of Rapp Collins Worldwide, points out that clients

are now considering above and below the line more holistically in an

overall marketing portfolio, 'direct is a global option for the first


Most industry commentators agree that improved technology is driving

this DM globalisation. 'More technological know-how exists in many more

countries than it previously did,' said Phil Bourne, managing director

of KLP Euro RSCG, an established global network.

But despite this, Chris Barraclough, chairman of BHWG Proximity,

maintained that taking DM campaigns global will prove a complex task

because of the amount of copy involved and the need to recognise

different local cultures.

There is also a feeling that creativity and accuracy could be under

threat in a globalised marketplace. Shaw asserted that there's a

trade-off involved in global DM executions. 'The more you centralise the

budget and the work, the more savings you make and economies of scale

you make - but you do miss out on localisation.'

Shaw, Barraclough and Bourne were united in their belief that

globalisation is bad news for independent agencies. It is a view that is

strongly contested by Oxfordshire-based independent JJ Marketing which

has just picked up a pan-European account for Gillette.

The agency's task is to review all databases and is the first time

Gillette has embarked on a pan-European project of this kind.

Paul Fox, director of communications at Gillette, said that the fact

that JJ Marketing is independent was not a factor in its


He stressed the importance of tailoring campaigns to local markets: 'We

would always build localisation into the process and develop a number of


Speed summed up the mood of global clients: 'There is a strong feeling

now that a brand's global image is its biggest asset. While there's

always going to be local modification of specific projects, global

direct has to be an option. The largest companies are insisting on it

and selecting their partners accordingly.'