Summary Theme Consultants Participating agencies Agenda

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 originality.

"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.
Grey Worldwide
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 interdepartmental collaboration.

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 2004.

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.
Lowe Worldwide
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.
Tribal DDB
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."
Universal McCann
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 United States.
Wunderman’s focus on customer connections and measurable business results has led to success in everything from digital campaigns to database marketing.

“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 U.S.

“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.