Dusting Off The Crystal Ball

Apropos of nothing, I’m just going to make a prediction here.
In 2009, WPP, IPG, and Omnicom will each merge 2 of their major agency groups to save costs. For example, you may see Y&R merge with O&M, BBDO and Chiat/Day merge, and McCann merge with Lowe or Deutsch or Campbell-Ewald or some such.
What do you think will happen next year?

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 TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com 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 like to see mergers of ad blogs. There are far too many of them.

  2. I think it’s highly likely in the WPP/IPG camps, less so with Omnicom’s big shops. They’re all still pretty healthy, with the exception of DDB (which seems unmergable). The smaller Omnicom shops are struggling: GSD&M, Martin/Williams, etc.
    O&M seems like it’s in a long, slow death spiral and Lowe needs euthanasia big time. It’ll be interesting to see if merging one terminal agency with another, healthier one will boost the sick one or drag down the healthy one.

  3. @HighJive – we’ll be ripe for a takeover (when the price is right)

  4. @HighJive–Totally agree. I’m all in favor of a MultiCultClassics/Adscam merger, for starters.

  5. Actually, I think it would be funnier to create odd pairings. Like AdScam and The Toad Stool – sort of an Odd Couple there. Odd pairings would potentially draw bigger, broader audiences versus likeminded types. How about Ad Broad and The Ranch to cover a full range of ages? Advergirl and The Daily (Ad) Biz would make a nice male/female couple – although the Daily dude would probably spend too much time trying to hit on Advergirl.

  6. Back to the original question…will The Titantic a.k.a. “Madison Ave” be turned on its head? Some of us are convinced the business needs reinventing. Others believe the services we’ve been providing for decades will always be needed, and that everything will be just fine in good time. I happen to think both POVs have an element of truth in them. So, I expect to see dramatic falls from grace and steady growth in existing and new areas, all at the same time.

  7. Well, David, the Titanic is already turned on its head. There are certainly more firings than hirings taking place at BDAs. Traditional advertising is not going away; it’s just going to assume its role in a more integrated mix. And yes, its role will be reduced, mostly by virtue of marketing budgets being sliced into smaller and different pieces. At this point, the traditional shops have three advantages keeping them afloat: 1) the big clients are as clueless about non-traditional advertising (from digital to guerrilla) as the big agencies, so they are semi-maintaining the status quo; 2) the traditional agencies remain better politicians, capable of wooing clients into making bad decisions and keeping the other disciplines down, and; 3) in many of these merged networks, the other disciplines are owned by the conglomerates and ultimately take second-class roles behind the traditional agencies. Unfortunately, there are few players in the industry capable of pulling off an Obama-like coup, positioning Mad Ave as a dinosaur and presenting viable change. Even Gladwell, in your other post, indicates a world-class expert needs 10 years of experience. While that may be bullshit in our industry, the veterans remain more savvy in the political arena – and as long as the industry remains so subjective and personal, politics means power. Although you’d think the current financial crisis would provide the perfect opportunity for some enterprising individual to show a better way.