EDITORIAL: Dentsu aims to boost US appeal through Burnett

Japan’s Dentsu, which is about to carve itself a substantial slice of Leo Burnett’s global network, possesses a lot of the old ’can do’ spirit that fuelled the Saatchi brothers’ empire-building in the 80s.

Japan’s Dentsu, which is about to carve itself a substantial slice

of Leo Burnett’s global network, possesses a lot of the old ’can do’

spirit that fuelled the Saatchi brothers’ empire-building in the

80s.



Its flotation, set for 2001, is aimed at securing the resources not only

to get into the digital market but also to allow substantial growth of

its international business.



Like the Saatchis, though, Dentsu’s route to internationalism has been a

rocky one. Although company bosses rightly determined that there were

strict limits to what they could achieve through organic growth, their

record at building international partnerships has been

unspectacular.



Will the deal with Burnett fare any better? Probably yes. While Dentsu’s

UK operations, CDP and Travis Sully Harari, provide a reasonable

springboard into Europe, it remains too weak in the US.



Burnett will undoubtedly help rectify that situation. And the deal will

provide the necessary counterbalance to the joint venture with Young &

Rubicam, which allows Dentsu to draw on Y&R’s strength across the Asia

Pacific region.



On the face of it, this is an alliance in which everybody wins. For

Dentsu, it helps resolve the perpetual problem of how to satisfy

Japanese multinational clients which, unlike their US counterparts, do

not believe Tokyo-based networks can deliver on the global stage.



For Burnett, there are substantial advantages. Not only does it open the

door to Japanese business but it provides a war-chest to fund global

expansion. Also, Dentsu’s sponsorship expertise could be vital for

Burnett’s clients wanting to capitalise on the World Cup in 2002 when

the competition takes place in South Korea and Japan.