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The Golden Age Of Big Ad Agencies Is Over

Posted by admin on February 16, 2019



For a  business to grow and remain relevant, it has to have a good marketing game plan, from digital media to more traditional forms of marketing such as public relations, print and even radio, – such plans usually involve using a third party agency. Be it either a boutique agency specialized in a few areas or an integrated agency such as one of the Big Four ( Publcis, WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic ) either working or as a business owner, you would have worked with one of these agencies. Most marketing agencies have a notorious reputation for always over performing and under delivering and still stick you with the full bill, while there are some really good agencies that deliver fantastic work, it is seldom the case.


Are the Legacy agencies still  relevant?


Just earlier this week Publicis World Group’s chief  Sadoun announced that its quarterly growth has slowed from 2.2% to just .5% in the third quarter of 2018.  .5% is low, albeit the fact that they work with such large numbers. Followed by this news, the Groups shares fell steeply by 12%, followed suit by a drop of 6% of WPP and around 5% for both Intercom and Omnicom. It begs the question, are the Big 4 losing their grip over their coveted top spots?


Are you a Mad Man?


Once thought to be a safe, promising and an exciting career, working in a Big 4 Agency was seen as glamorous, high stakes and further exacerbated by the likes of the hit show “Mad Men”

The reality may be blurred. This author has heard both an agency compared to a “human capital sweatshop” where it’s just creative after creative or copy after copy and others who would have no other way and love their career more than their family.


Boutique or Legacy? What’s best for me?


You may be asking, what type of agency is best for me? This depends on your individual situation, but a general rule of thumb, if you are a smaller company or have smaller marketing objectives – stick to a boutique agency who is works with your niche. Chances are they have the requisite knowledge needed and more importantly the time and resources to serve your adequately. If you are in the positions of managing large budgets and have a unique problem to be solved via marketing, a big 4 agency may be a good bet, for all their pitfalls, legacy agencies have access to large network of vendors, publishers and other agencies as well,although a few years ago “thinking in silos was seen an agency plague”.


Disclaimer: The Author worked in a Publcis Groupe Agency