OMC Shows New Creative Tactics

NEW YORK Rather than talk up the creative evolution of his agencies, Omnicom Group CEO John Wren today sought to illustrate his points via a 10-minute video about BBDO’s nontraditional efforts for clients such as GE, Target and Mars.

Wren, who presented this afternoon at UBS’ Global Media & Communications Conference, used the video to explain how BBDO in particular has evolved from an agency known for TV spots to a one that also creates branded content in the form of video clips, TV programs and microsites.

For GE, the agency in 2006 embedded a series of images into a TV spot that could be accessed via digital video recorders, thereby increasing the amount of time that consumers spent with the brand. A 2007 Web site for Mars’ M&Ms, www.becomeanmm.com, enabled visitors to blend real photographs with the brand’s animated characters. And a 2006 Target event featuring illusionist David Blaine suspended over New York’s Times Square attracted media coverage for the retailer in the days around Thanksgiving.

“We earn our fees working for clients by doing what we’ve always been doing and by pushing it through all sorts of media,” Wren explained.

Also, as clients adjust their media spending habits, with dollars, for example, shifting out of TV and into digital, it creates opportunities for agencies that embrace new forms of communication, Wren said. “We’re adjusting as fast as the marketplace is and we’re agnostic” about the communication channels we use, he added.

Looking ahead to 2008, Wren acknowledged recent stories about the possibility of a recession, but said to date he has not heard of any clients planning to cut ad spending. In fact, given expected global growth, events like the Olympics and Omnicom’s ability to cut costs, “2008 appears to be robust,” Wren said.

Speaking more broadly about Omnicom’s revenue pie, Wren said that almost 43 percent comes from advertising, while slightly more than 36 percent comes from customer relationship management work, about 10 percent from public relations efforts and another 10 percent from specialty communications tasks.

Geographically, nearly 54 percent of Omnicom’s revenue is generated in the U.S., with about 21 percent generated in Europe, 11 percent in the U.K. and the remaining 14 percent in other markets such as Asia, according to Wren.