OPINION: GGT and BDDP’s merger is a logical progression

In the context of some painful recent deals, BDDP GGT’s merger appears both to have been handled professionally and sensitively, and to be the most logical.

In the context of some painful recent deals, BDDP GGT’s merger

appears both to have been handled professionally and sensitively, and to

be the most logical.



BST never quite lived up to the promise of its illustrious founders.



Those with longer memories will recall their confident pledge in October

1990 not to take on business with less than pounds 4 million of

billings. Yes, 1990 seems a long time ago. Dave Trott’s style sat

uneasily with that of the former Saatchis boys. It was no surprise that

the partnership ended the year after the merger with Miller & Leeves

WAHT. While the agency’s creative work never caught fire, Sharkey and

Bainsfair proved to be two of the smartest businesspeople running a top

50 agency.



GGT has long flattered to deceive. There have been many memorable

campaigns, from Toshiba, Holsten and Ariston, to Cadbury’s Flake,

Capital Radio and John Smith’s. However, client leakage cancelled out

its ability to win new business and the shop was not profitable enough.

It never broke through to the top rank of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO or

Lowe Howard-Spink. This is a situation GGT plc could not allow to

persist.



Yes, the cultures are different but not impossibly so, particularly

given that GGT already has a new creative director with a very strong,

very different personality to his predecessors. Much will hang on the

way Sharkey and Bainsfair spark with Beattie. Grant Duncan’s managing

director role will also be crucial in seeing both sets of staff through

what inevitably will be a traumatic period.



For Mike Greenlees, this merger is a lot less controversial than his

bold swoop on the BDDP network in the first place. Some of his peers

have been expecting it all to fall apart ever since. So much now hangs

on the performance of not just Wells Rich Greene in New York, but his

other consistently underrated agencies.This merger is a step in the

right direction to building his desired international network. But only

a step.



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