At a merged value of $35 billion, Omnicom and Publicis have combined to become the world’s largest advertising group, unseating WPP from its lead position. In India, however, the newly merged Publicis Omnicom Groupe is the second largest.
Going forward, the agency networks of the two groups are unlikely to be disturbed, said ad agency executives, though, group agencies and clients may benefit in the medium term. The actual impact of the deal, however, will take some time to emerge.
“In the immediate term and going forward, agency networks in the two groups will not be disturbed,” said Arvind Sharma, chairman, India, Leo Burnett, Publicis Groupe. “Individual agency networks will continue to focus on clients’ businesses. This is not a merger of agency networks but of two holding companies.”
“The merger has set the industry standard. However, it has just been announced and will take around six-nine months to close. Only then will the advantages — in terms of talent, brands, clients and innovation — roll out over the following two years,” said Madhukar Kamath, group chief executive officer and managing director, DDB Mudra Group. DDB is part of Omnicom.
“When something like 40 agencies come together, it’s not possible to predict anything so soon,” said another top ad agency executive.
But, with a number of agency networks and brands now coming under one umbrella, will the merger pose conflict of interests?
“Not at all,” said Kamath. “Every brand operates independently and is well established, globally and in India, and there won’t be any need to dilute any of them.”
“There is no conflict of interest as every ad network exercises strong confidentiality across its practices,” added Sharma.
The largest, WPP, counts JWT and Ogilvy & Mather among its big ad agencies and GroupM among its media agencies.