FCB Ready to Work

Even though he's a brand new CEO at Foote, Cone & Belding (FCB), Steve Balmer wants the world to know the agency is not in transition but ready for work. "New" is not exactly the right word to describe Balmer, who worked at FCB twice before in his career and respects the agency's reputation. His presentation at AdForum's World Summit 2005 included several FCB leaders and described a firm with a global footprint and an arsenal of highly effective tools and tactics that will soon become more widely known.

FCB executives new and old invoked the integration mantra, noting that a prospect hearing a FCB pitch would not be able to tell the creative person from the brand planner from the media buyer from the account manager from the interactive specialist. The Model of One has broken down silos and compelled people to leave their egos at the door in the search for new ideas. FCB's "creative rumbles"-a process that draws a group of people from all regions and all disciplines together to focus intently on a given client problem for a week-have become so successful that they're happening all the time all over the world.

Balmer said he knew the firm was different when the first reel the creative people showed him was Internet work rather than traditional broadcast. Recent wins with Motorola and Diet Coke may have surprised the industry, it was noted, but they didn't surprise the people on the inside at FCB. Other themes echoed in the presentation included results, accountability and creativity.

Promising consultants that he would have a clear positioning for the agency by early next year, Balmer emphasized there was no reason to wait for that before inviting FCB to pitch. "The Board of IPG is committed to revitalizing FCB," he said. With a strong will, good momentum, some new international leadership, and a stunning reel of work completed in just the last three months, FCB is on a roll.