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Monday, July 29, 2013

Truth In Advertising: The Real Story Behind Publicom

by Jon Bond,
Media Post


I mean really, what is the real deal here? 

You know it’s not in the press release or the interviews the executives are doing. The truth won't even be in meetings between the merged companies, and maybe not even between those of the executives on either side. I think the true incentives are buried deep within the individual psyches of the key people. 

So, let’s speculate a bit. 

Publicis had it planned for years.

Could it be that Maurice has finally found the perfect exit? One that culminates his career in a place that cannot be topped? Number one in size. For a company built on deals, this is a perfect final act. In fact, it or something like it may have been in the planning stages for years.  

The evidence: 

  • For decades, no suitable replacement could ever be found for this really a coincidence?
  • The family of Publicis founder Marcel Bleustein-Blachet has been rumored to want to get its money out of the business for years.

  • Letting nearly irreplaceable top executives like Bob Lord and Laura Lang leave and Jack Klues to retire? 

  • And lastly, the coup de grace, Maurice is no dummy; nothing with him is ever a coincidence. 

  • I think it’s about Maurice and the family, and no one else was in on it. Ever. Case closed. 

And Omnicom gets to take the whole thing over, and finally trump Sir Martin.

The evidence: 

  • Omnicom executives are younger, have a deeper bench, especially with the attrition of key Publicis executives this past year. 

  • Omnicom has a weak digital offering, but with Publicis digital assets, the day after the merger that is history. 

  • And finally, the branding. The Publicis name gets to stand first, which is traditionally awarded to the stronger, more dominant company. 

  • However, in this case, the batting order will be used to mask weakness, not display strength. Pierce the veil and it’s obvious that Omnicom will in essence be “acquiring” Publicis. Not today, but as Maurice and his lieutenants retire and move on, Omnicom people will fill the voids and it will become their company.
  •  The Publicis name is first because it has to be for the sake of appearances. 

  • For pride. But Omnicom has the hole card, so doesn't care about such trivialities.

Case closed. 

Everyone gets what they want, and it has nothing to do with money, clients, or advertising.  It’s about a handful of powerful executives in the twilight of their respective careers who in one fell swoop, can cement their legacies and enter the history books. 

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