Dell To Pay Big Bucks For Unrealized Promise of Integration

Dell will spend $4.5 billion over three years with holding company WPP, which will “go into business” with Dell by creating a new agency brand that will ultimately be available to other clients.
According to The Wall Street Journal:

One condition laid down by Dell in the review was that the companies vying for its business figure out a way to foster more collaboration between the people who create ads for TV and print and the other experts who do things such as research consumer behavior or craft Web ads. To address that, WPP Group has agreed to create a new agency that will eventually oversee all of these tasks.
In an interview, Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, said it would take WPP and Dell roughly three to six months to build the new firm, which will start with about 1,000 employees. He declined to say how much WPP would spend to create the agency, whose code name was Project DaVinci. He said it would be staffed with a combination of existing WPP employees and new hires.
The computer-maker joins a growing list of big-name advertisers such as Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever that have expressed frustration with the way the ad and marketing firms are structured. Many marketers say that getting different companies to work together — even ones owned by the same ad holding company — is tough. They say ad executives too often push agendas that will most help their own bottom lines and tend to favor certain types of media, such as TV.

I don’t know if WPP and Deell’s “Project DaVinci” is the answer, but I do know agency execs of all sorts and sizes need to find an answer. We’ve danced around this integrated marketing thing for over a decade with few notable realizations of the concept. Now, with the rise of digital, the so-called “line” that agencies either fall below or rise above is a non-topic. There is no line today. It’s been obliterated, like several other sacred cows. Which is great news for those willing to accept the changes and move forward. Wherever there’s disruption, there’s also opportunity.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.