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August 2nd, 2013

Love in the Age of Giant Multinational Advertising Conglomerates



“Love, love, love. Love is all you need.” –Ringo Starr and backing band

Mr. Starr hit it right on the head: love is really important. It’s what gives us little everyday miracles like the Kanye Kardashians. The Beyoncé Zs. And Amanda Bynes and all the drugs in the world.

But for every Kate and William and their baby with an old man’s name, there’s Taylor Swift and every teen boy she’s ever met. Sometimes, love is a battlefield.

Which brings us to advertising’s version of a celebrity wedding: the marriage of Publicis and Omnicom—two of the world’s largest advertising holding companies. On paper, it looks like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Or is it Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston?

Sure, they’ll talk about gaining efficiencies and consolidating consumer data and other fun buzzwords. But what happens when Coke (Publicis) meets Pepsi (Omnicom) in the hallway while grabbing a Faygo? Or when Verizon (Publicis) finds AT&T’s (Omnicom) letter jacket hanging in the closet?

Ultimately, their clients are going to have to decide if being under the umbrella of this new advertising behemoth is really what’s best for their brands. If an agency of other agencies can really serve multiple masters. And if size matters in terms of creative product. Ad legend Dan Wieden thinks so. Which is why he wishes W+K were small again. And why we’re so ecstatic about our Ad Age Small Agency of the Year, Best Culture honors, and the opportunities and freedom that come with being a small agency (including sending strange weekly newsletters with random hyperlinks).

With that being said, we wish Omni-cis the best of luck and hope their new marriage works out better than this clumsy re-make of a Bryan Adams mid-90s hit.