This weekend we moved a step closer to The Singularity as the world’s two largest PR/marketing/advertising groups announced plans to join, creating one unstoppable media megalith that will easily pass WPP to become the biggest, most powerful group in the history of big, powerful groups.
Together, Publicis and Omnicom include agencies from Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett to BBDO and DDB Worldwide.
On Saturday and Sunday the two companies confirmed the move and released statements from co-CEOs Maurice Levy and John Wren, who made a public appearance together; Levy said the merger started as “almost a joke” six months ago. One thing the pair didn’t do was secure the Twitter handles @OmnicomPublicis or @PublicisOmnicom, a fact that allowed a couple of industry wise guys to have a bit of fun in the wake of the announcement:
All your base are belong to us. C’est moi.
— Publicis Omnicom (@PublicisOmnicom) July 27, 2013
We did it because we Cannes. — Publicis Omnicom (@PublicisOmnicom) July 28, 2013
Of course we can be big, French, AND agile. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before, non? pic.twitter.com/kOICsOSQ0N
— Publicis Omnicom (@PublicisOmnicom) July 28, 2013
— Omnicom Publicis (@OmnicomPublicis) July 28, 2013
Much of the discussion on Saturday and Sunday concerned the similar deals that are sure to follow (at least according to WPP chief executive Martin Sorrel). Other subjects up for debate included antitrust clearance issues, competing clients (Omnicom represents Pepsi while Publicis works for Coca-Cola), the ways in which this merger to beat all mergers will change the industries involved, and whether the new Tetris-style combine of PR, marketing, and advertising agencies based in every major city around the world can somehow manage to be greater than the sum of its parts (like One Direction).
Expect more of the same to follow as every agency on the planet considers the implications of this unexpected and dramatic move. Some important facts:
- No layoffs have been planned
- The move was presented as “a merger of equals”
- The new company will be called Publicis Omnicom Group
- POG will be headquartered in “the neutral territory of the Netherlands”
- Rothschild Group has been hired in an advisory role.
In summary, we offer a statement of purpose quote that the parties somehow left out of their various announcements:
“One agency to rule them all/ One agency to find them/ One agency to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” – Sauron