Memos fly at IPG but don’t quite add up

[This item updates an earlier post, which frankly we had to rewrite, given ongoing developments.] It seems that AdFreak has become AdLeak over the past few days. It all started with’s story about a possible merger of Draft and Foote Cone & Belding. In response to that story, IPG CEO Michael Roth (shown here) tossed off a memo admonishing the troops for leaking information to the press—a memo that was, of course, itself immediately leaked to the press. FCB CEO Steve Blamer and Draft CEO Howard Draft issued memos of their own to their staffs, which were also immediately handed over to our colleagues at Adweek. (You can read all three memos by clicking on the thumbmail images at the very bottom this post.) Let’s have a closer look. 1. ROTH: “During the past week or so, we’ve taken a real step back and lost our discipline—on matters ranging from Interpublic strategies to the very future of the group.” Since when has there been discipline over at IPG? The McCann boys can’t even count. 2. ROTH CONTINUES: “There will be no ‘takeover’ of any of our companies by another company.” OK, except the story didn’t use the word takeover. Getting the facts right may be as tough as balancing the books over there. 3. BLAMER: “Please understand that if we are to do anything of this sort it will be a merger of equals.” DRAFT: “We are firmly in control of our destiny.” Certainly sounds like Draft is going to end up on top. Some merger of equals. 4. ROTH: “We must stop talking out of school and putting individual agendas ahead of the common good.” If you don’t want something leaked, here’s a hint: You can start by not e-mailing it all over the company.

—Posted by Tim Nudd