So, now the deed is done and Lowe/Lintas is born. And we fully
expect it to become a major power in the advertising universe. However,
right now there must be a hell of a lot of employees of the newly merged
networks wondering apprehensively just what the future has in store for
It is an unavoidable situation, and must be particularly worrying for
many of the Lintas employees on the receiving end of what is effectively
a takeover. But, to be honest, many Lintas employees must have been
worried about their future anyway. The global network has been drifting
for far too long, with particularly acute problems in the vital New York
and London markets.
At the very least the merger guarantees a greater degree of leadership
than of late. Of course, this will be of little comfort to those Lintas
staffers (particularly senior ones) who will have lost or are about to
lose their jobs, but for the majority this has to be good news.
The Lowe Group may have been on its way to building a network of its
own, but the timescale required - short as it was - had begun to appear
too long term. But at last Lintas can now stop pretending to be another
agency. It was always going to have to seek help, so was probably better
off being forced to do a deal with the devil it knows. At least the
fall-out will be relatively small.
Henkel aside, there appear to be few major international casualties.
A business founded on the rocks of Unilever, General Motors, Diageo,
Nestle and Johnson & Johnson allows for a genuine international network
to flourish in a way that the Lowe and Lintas networks really hadn’t
been able to - for very different reasons.
What will be fascinating is how readily Lintas clients like Unilever and
Burger King embrace the Lowe Group’s creativity. In Unilever’s case the
timing appears to be ideal because of the recent brand cull announcement
and the upping of the creative ante by its rival, Procter & Gamble. The
new agency could be great. The business and the talent are all there
Frank Lowe hasn’t failed much in his advertising career. And at 57, he’s
unlikely to want to start now.