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14 September 2015

The Big Squeeze
By Richard Edelman

Written by: Richard Edelman, President and CEO at Edelman

Culture, Innovation

Omnicom announced last week that it was combining the production departments of the flagship New York City offices of its large advertising agencies: BBDO, DDB and TBWA. The new entity will be known as eg+ and will offer “global implementation and production.” The Adweek story went on to say that “the larger company will continue working with third party production studios while simultaneously handling more of its production duties in house.” At the same time, scale will allow clients “the distribution and applications of their messages both above and below the line, across all media from digital to print and moving images.”

This same aggregation of production is happening around the world at the holding companies with the disruption of their business models as advertising shifts from TV to digital. According to a former executive at one of the big four, this is a positive for global clients who create a lot of print ads and collateral because it is cheaper. But there are time zone, language and client priority issues. And it is seen as a further effort at making back room efficiencies.

This poses a significant question: what is the future of the creative agency now that media, production, digital and content creation are all being stripped away? What’s left is creative and strategy, along with the account executives who manage client relationships.

For me, the ultimate goal must be to make the work better, to challenge conventional thinking, while supporting client business objectives. It cannot be primarily about improving margins via cost efficiencies in order to keep the shareholders happy.

This is a continued reaffirmation of our Communications Marketing approach: bundling the classic PR and communications functions of marketing, corporate and public affairs with the broader marketing capabilities of creative, digital, planning, research, sponsorship and consulting. Earned media will lead the conversation and we can control the entire process for the client. This approach allows us to keep the strands of our business together and harmonized so we can provide creativity, underpinned by insights, executed across channels with agility and guided by analytical intelligence.

I am obviously arguing my own case, for a vertical (PR) that grows into related areas in a horizontal manner. But our kind of creative based in the heritage of newsworthiness, social conscience and speed, with the ability to Evolve, Promote and Protect brands and companies, should be a compelling offer for clients facing a complex environment.

This article originally appeared on 6A.M., Richard Edelman’s blog on trends in communications, issues, lessons and insights.

Image by Jim Winstead

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