Burnett Likes Arc’s Books

Ad Age reports on further blurring of “the line” that has long separated ad agencies (above-the-line) from their country cousins in direct and promo shops (below-the-line).

In a move it hopes can reverse its slumping new-business fortunes, Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett Worldwide is taking direct/interactive sibling Arc Worldwide under its corporate umbrella.
While Burnett executives are cautious not to label the move a merger, CEO Tom Bernardin said, “Consider Burnett and Arc as one entity, albeit with two facets.”

Sounds to me like someone’s reading the writing on the walls. Crosstown rival FCB is now merged with a marketing services firm. Burnett can play that game too.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Technically, David, nearly every major shop in Chicago has “marketing services” components. O&M, Y&R and JWT have always had direct and interactive wings. FCB had/has a direct and interactive department, although it’s assumed they’ll fold under the new structure. Euro RSCG officially merged its divisions over a year ago. Burnett, as always, is the last to join the rest of the 21st century world. But at least they still hand out free apples.