National Agency Report Cards: Shaking All Over

Deals, destabilization and client defections wreaked havoc–and opportunity–last year.Triumph and turmoil marked 1994 for most agencies, along with a good deal of trepidation. It was the year when Bozell, Southfield, Mich., claimed the Grand Prix at Cannes for the Americans. In all, the U.S. took home seven golds and a total of 31 lions at the festival. It was also the year that Procter & Gamble”s Ed Artzt warned agencies they had better evolve quickly and get control of the changing advertising environment or risk losing consumer loyalty–and lucrative assignments–for their clients” brands.
Just when many thought a boardroom brushfire between Maurice Saatchi and Charlie Scott had been settled last spring, the conflict flared again in December when Maurice refused to accept lesser duties at Saatchi & Saatchi PLC and was ousted as chairman of the board. The move resulted in the formation of The New Saatchi Agency by Maurice and three colleagues, the firing of Bates and Saatchi by Mars, and a flurry of lawsuits, press leaks, client raids and shareholder migraines. Expect the repercussions to continue for months to come.
IBM gave Ogilvy & Mather the chance to state a brave case for global agencies when it fired over 30 shops to consolidate its $500-million worldwide account. The biggest account move in history has thus far produced laudable results, but the commitment to global business was felt in client fallout at O&M.
Other notable accounts that ended long relationships: Budweiser to DDB Needham, Chicago, from DMB&B, St. Louis; Taco Bell to The Richards Group, Dallas, and Bozell, from FCB, San Francisco; and Haggar to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, from DDB, Dallas. Volkswagen and Kmart are still looking for new agencies, as pitches get costlier and curiouser.
Mergers and buyout activity also picked up. Interpublic acquired Ammirati & Puris to combine it with struggling Lintas, New York. Griffin Bacal agreed to a deal with Omnicom”s DDB Needham. Jerry Della Femina merged his agency with Ketchum”s New York office. Meanwhile, FCB Communications renamed itself True North, which sent its partnership with Publicis heading due south.
Media–traditional and new–continued its march to prominence. Media-only reviews ranked among the biggest new business chases last year, as agencies positioned themselves by separating media from the general agencies. AT&T shifted some $250-300 million in media buying, dividing its domestic business among Ayer”s The Media Edge, Y&R and DMB&B”s TeleVest. McCann-Erickson won a $50-million overseas assignment. On the West Coast, MGM shifted some $100 million in media billings to Saatchi & Saatchi. Saatchi Advertising”s media unit, Zenith, opened in the U.S., while Interpublic acquired the biggest independent media buyer, Western International.
Alex Kroll and Carl Spielvogel retired. Jerry Siano was out at Ayer, Steve Dworin in. The Energizer bunny kept going. °
Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1995) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED