Are Digital Accounts Headed For More Consolidation?

This Ad Age article about Subaru caught my eye:

Subaru of America is moving its digital account from one of the industry’s hottest specialists, R/GA, to its Interpublic Group of Cos. sibling, Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis.
The business moved without a review and was part of a consolidation. Subaru had no issues with R/GA, a spokesman for the automaker said, noting that it makes sense to have the entire account in one place. Subaru handed Carmichael Lynch its estimated $150 million national media and creative account without a review last fall.
The spokesman said Carmichael Lynch wasn’t equipped to handle the digital account a year ago, but it is now.

Are we going to see more of this? Will digital specialists like R/GA have trouble holding onto accounts if more general market agencies get their act together? Does it make sense to keep the entire account at one agency for integration purposes? Or can digital agencies start beefing up strategic thinking and take the lead on brands?
Look into your crystal ball and tell me what you see.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. I’d take it much further than traditional agencies handling interactive work. I don’t see the need for separate divisions or departments within traditional agencies. We don’t have a division for TV, nor one for print, nor one for radio. So why have one for interactive? Soon, that distinction isn’t going to be there. If you work in the creative dept., you’ll be making communications in all of the above media, plus POS, DM, WOM and events.

  2. That all sounds great, but it’ll be a while before you see that kind of true integration. it’s not just the creative dept. you need to be concerned with. it’s account and planning and media and the rest of it. should these people be able to work comfortably in all media? certainly. do they now? not even close.

  3. t,
    most of them don’t even work comfortably in their own silo of alleged expertise.

  4. I think that it all becomes more any more messy: the strict limitations just disappear between agencies like creatives suggest media usage and media suggest creative ideas. But still full service digital agencies that have the technology know-how has a big step ahead of the classic ones especially if they have a strong media approach. They grow bigger and bigger and classic ones cannot due to the stop of their budget.
    So my prediction is that full-service digital agencies will become stronger and stronger and can fill the lead agencies at some big Clients soon if they are not already. It’s just upon them. Classic ones have one choice: buy them – until they can.

  5. It’s also a case of brands needing to have more confidence that either a small-to-mid shop or an interactive shop can handle everything, because in their mind, an interactive shop can’t do TV. The 72andsunnys of the world are growing in number, and more agencies like them will gain confidence from brands they can handle the workload.
    I see too many still relying on 15 different agencies to do all their stuff though, but then complain about lack of consistency in the messaging. Dan Balser reiterated this point indirectly in his recent podcast when he said clients don’t know what they don’t know.
    I’d agree with that because our job a lot of time is to educate them. The other part of that equation is also a client willing to put themselves out there, because for every BK DOM, there are countless brands who play it safe.