In a move aimed at flattening the shop’s management hierarchy, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles has undertaken a global restructuring that realigns top executives’ supervision according to clients’ needs instead of geography.
DMB&B’s actions come as key client Procter & Gamble undergoes its own restructuring, shedding jobs and aligning its agency roster by brand instead of by country.
Specifically, DMB&B has created a trans-Atlantic operating region under John Farrell and Susan Gianinno. North American president Farrell expands his duties adding Europe, the Middle East and Africa under his new title as president, regional CEO. Gianinno, chief branding officer worldwide, adds president to her title. The pair are charged with matching specific strengths within the agency, and sometimes from units of parent MacManus Group, with clients’ needs. Previously, local offices handled business in each region.
Farrell said the new structure “eliminates excess management hierarchy,” but no layoffs are planned.
Gianinno said the model was tested for a year in North America and was effective with various clients, including Capitol One and Ernst & Young. “We felt it was time to build on it globally,” she said.
As an example, Farrell said six different MacManus units now serve Capitol One: The holding company’s Highway One unit in San Francisco handles the financial service client’s youth marketing efforts; Bromley, Aguilar & Associates in San Antonio handles Hispanic marketing; and Clarion Marketing and Communications in Greenwich, Conn., does direct marketing. In New York, DMB&B works on consumer advertising, Blue Marble Advanced Communications handles interactive and Mediavest buys media.
“The concept has a lot going for it. It makes sense on paper. How it plays out in reality remains to be seen,” said David Leibowitz, an industry analyst with Burnham Securities in New York. “It really boils down to execution and whether you can deliver to the client what you promised. Ultimately, the client will determine if you have.”
Denis Beausejour, P&G’s vice president of worldwide advertising, said he was “aware in broad strokes” of the new initiative but declined to comment further.
In another bid to differentiate itself, DMB&B will also replace its initials with “D’Arcy” as its “short-form” brand beginning in September. ¡
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