|September 18 - 22, 2006
At their last AdForum Summit two years ago, Nigel Bogle, BBH’s founder
and CEO, spoke about the agency’s unconventional approach to engaging
the contemporary consumer. This year, agency executives showed off the
fruits of their labor and demonstrated the effectiveness of their
"We're developing ideas that become a part of the culture,
which is the ultimate measure of communication success," said Emma
Cookson, Global Head of Account Planning for BBH US.
DraftFCB CEO Howard Draft says the June 2006 merger of Draft and FCB
was a marriage of creativity and accountability. The goal was to be
media-disciplined and channel-agnostic, while providing holistic and
integrated solutions. Interdisciplinary collaboration would eliminate
the need for businesses to coordinate between several different
agencies and deliver a more streamlined and cost-effective solution.
“We want to challenge the way our clients see their
businesses,” said Laurence Boschetto, DraftFCB’s new president and
chief operating officer. “We want to get our clients excited again.” Of
course, executives cautioned, success won’t happen overnight. But
DraftFCB has already won new accounts with Atari, Citigroup, and
Merrill Lynch, and the agency is currently one of four finalists
selected for Wal-Mart's account.
Last year’s corporate restructuring is over and Euro RSCG is ready to
get down to business. With over $3 billion in new campaigns from
companies like Verizon, ExxonMobil and LG, the agency continues an
amazing streak of wins. Global CEO David Jones identified what
distinguishes Euro from its competition. “We’re a big agency, yet we’ve
got smart people on the ground locally,” he said.
Euro highlighted its talent for creating ideas that engage
consumers by showcasing successful campaigns for Nokia and Volvo. The
agency has been doing a lot of research to examine how people’s
attitudes towards certain brands and certain companies are changing.
Euro believes it is a combination of brand momentum and trust that best
predicts financial success. “We’ve got unparalleled insight into what’s
next. And we are always willing to collaborate with our clients in new
ways," said Jones.
Jim Heekin, CEO of Grey Worldwide, one of the largest advertising
agencies in the world, joined the agency about a year ago. Addressing
the Summit attendees, he presented an array of positive developments at
Grey, including an increased number of awards, the hiring of top
creative talent throughout the world and an increase in media citations
of Grey’s work. Showing Grey’s extensive client roster, many with Grey
for decades, Heekin said: "when we get business we tend to keep it."
The venue for the Summit event was the Milk Gallery on
West 15th Street in Manhattan, which was transformed to exhibit Grey’s
work and capabilities across multiple media and disciplines.
|The Interpublic Group
Michael Roth, Interpublic's Chairman and CEO, debriefed industry
consultants about what had happened during the previous 12 months.
“We’ve got a new management team and our financial issues are behind
us,” Roth explained. “Now comes the fun part: the new business pitches
and the chance to show the world our creativity and effectiveness.”
A number of Interpublic agencies won lucrative new
accounts last year: R/GA landed a large account with L’Oréal, Deutsch
regained its contract with Ikea, McCann Worldgroup signed on Hewlett
Packard and the recent merger between Draft and FCB has been hailed by
industry watchers as nothing short of revolutionary. In March, Roth
named Stephen Gatfield Lowe’s worldwide CEO and unveiled his plans to
refocus and reintegrate the agency’s corporate structure. Wall Street
is paying attention as well. Wachovia gave Interpublic an “outperform”
rating in September and both Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank analyst
reports spoke favorably of the group.
According to ISS, Interpublic outperformed fully 98% of
all companies in the media group last year. Roth identified two key
factors that help distinguish IPG: a relentless concentration on their
clients and a new focus on interdisciplinary thought and
He also demonstrated that the group was capable of
bringing smart, strategic thinking to bear on new market paradigms,
citing Foote Cone & Belding’s DVR-targeted television ad for KFC.
“We are a leader in creating modern, channel-neutral solutions for all
of our clients,” said Roth.
With 139 offices in 69 countries, JWT is among the largest advertising
agencies in the world. But that doesn’t compromise their ability to
think locally: "We know how to dig in deeply and link big ideas to
individual markets," said CEO Bob Jeffrey, who first took the reins in
Citing a line from the Great Gatsby, he promised,
"Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further." The
mission: to create ideas that people want to spend time with. In order
for that to happen, you've got to understand your audience and JWT has
always prided itself on strong consumer knowledge. "We’re cultural
anthropologists first, advertisers second," Jeffrey asserted.
The management team at Lowe has been asking: how does an agency,
founded in a totally different era, move forward into the future? How
should it rebuild its creative network in order to reflect new business
realities? “Lowe’s culture has always been extremely creative,” said
Stephen Gatfield, the agency’s newly appointed worldwide CEO. “Now we
just need to contemporize it.”
Gatfield says the key is working hard to implement a
culture of real collaboration and in focusing on high value ideas. “You
need to think about what the brand’s essence is, where the world is
going, and which ideas bring those things together,” he asserted.
Engaging, well-thought-out ideas are capable of
transcending cultural and media boundaries – and can successfully
transform the way people think about the most mundane products. “We
like to do our best work for everyone,” said Fernando Vega Olmos,
Lowe’s worldwide Creative Director. Lowe’s campaigns for laundry
detergent, toothpaste and tampons demonstrate how the Lowe of today is
capable of meeting that challenge.
MPG believes the relationship between brand and consumer comes down to
a matter of chemistry. "Our business is a people business," explained
Maria-Luisa Francoli, CEO of MPG Network. The agency's job, said
Francoli, is to understand and to capitalize on the interaction between
consumers and brands. "We consider ourselves social scientists."
Accordingly, MPG spends more money on research than any
other agency. It has also been working hard to make use of the latest
technological advances. "We’re using new technology to help our clients
understand what people are saying about their brands," said Don
Epperson, CEO of media contacts, MPG’s interactive arm.
|Rapp Collins Worldwide
“What do we do?” asked Gary Von Kennel, worldwide CEO of Rapp Collins
as of May 2006. “We’re direct marketers. We help you acquire, retain,
or optimize customers.”
Rapp’s approach is relentlessly pragmatic; the agency
seeks to understand how clients and their customers interact, to
develop clear, effective strategies for making the most of that
relationship, and to track and measure all campaigns to determine ROI.
But that doesn’t mean that the agency isn’t creative. A new Internet
campaign for Sky in Brazil demonstrated Rapp’s approach to engaging
young male soccer fan and the agency’s television work for Britain’s
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
continues with outstanding results.
“Clients need creative, measurable results with options, immediately,” says Von Kennel. “It’s the way of the future.”
Across the globe, traditional media are losing ground to their digital
brethren, and businesses and advertisers alike are wondering how they
are going to compete.
Sapient, an interactive agency with strong roots in
technology development with offices around the globe believes that it
has the answer. “It’s about designing a complete experience for the
consumer,” said Clement Mok, Sapient’s Global Director of Design
Planning. Consumer experiences drive profits and growth, and they have
become a crucial marketing tool. Steve Jobs, Mok’s old employer, was
among the first to understand this principle. “He taught me to design
everything with the user’s experience in mind,” asserted Mok.
By monitoring each campaign in real time, Sapient can
measure its overall effectiveness, as well as modify or adjust any
elements that are under-performing. “Creating a compelling brand
message is still very important in today’s market,” explained Gaston
Legorburu, Senior Vice President. “But delivering that message has
gotten a lot more complicated. That’s where technology and Sapient
comes in,” he added.
At the Reuters building, the Tribal DDB presentation was led by
worldwide CEO Matt Freeman. "We see our positioning as global,
full-service and best-in-class," he said. Tribal has fully embraced the
current culture of consumer interactivity to forge a new identity as
the hip and fun agency of tomorrow. The Tribal leadership team includes
Liz Ross (who heads the west coast division) and Paul Gunning (who
heads east coast).
Tribal's top clients include Pepsi, Dell, McDonald’s and
Unilever, among others. According to Freeman, the world of "new-new
media" adds to the complexity of their work. However, he says, Tribal
has met the challenge of the post- dot-bomb era, and it shows in their
work. "Adweek ranked us in the top 10 of interactive agencies," Gunning
said. "We also had 28 finalists in Cannes 2006 and 4 Gold Lions."
Nick Brien, CEO Worldwide of Universal McCann, began with a
presentation in the Sony Style theatre on Madison Avenue. Agency search
consultants from all over the world attended. Brien explained that
after joining the agency last August, he put the brakes on new business
solicitation. Instead, he set a goal of solidifying the existing
relationships with Universal McCann’s blue-chip roster of clients such
as Intel, Sony and Microsoft. Having accomplished what he wanted, Brien
says, “Our objective for 2007 is to take on new business again.”
Four senior executives of Universal McCann also addressed
the Summit gathering, including Mary Gerzema, president of UM in the
Wunderman’s focus on customer connections and measurable business
results has led to success in everything from digital campaigns to
“We can compete with advertising agencies,” said Marcus
Starke, President and CEO of Wunderman’s operations in Europe, the
Middle East, and Africa. “More and more people are asking for
hard-numbered ROI and that’s something we can deliver.”
Wunderman’s management team attributes the agency’s
success to its single-minded focus on the customer. David Sable, Vice
Chairman and COO of Wunderman Worldwide Sable explained that
understanding the customer means understanding both individual people
and their social and geographical contexts.
Y&R offered consultants snapshots of an agency poised for explosive
growth. “We’ve got an incredibly rich history,” said Hamish McLennan,
Y&R’s global CEO. “But we’ve also been preparing ourselves to go
out and meet the future.” The agency is in the process of revitalizing
its management structure and talent base with a new focus on developing
communications products that are consistent, creative and effective
across their worldwide network.
Y&R is the number one agency in Hungary and Russia and
sits among the top five in many other European countries. The past year
has seen a number of strategic mergers and acquisitions; new accounts
with Bacardi, Hitachi, and Volvic – and innovative new campaigns for
Carlton Draught in Australia, Virgin in the UK and Miller Lite in the
“If you focus on the clients, focus on the work, and focus
on getting new business, you’ll get the money,” said Chris Jaques, the
new CEO of Y&R’s North American operations.