WHAT IF PUBLICIS-OMNICOM BECAME THE WORLD’S MOST COOPETITIVE GROUP?

The secret merger between Omnicom (Second largest communications group comprising, among others, TBWA, DDB and BBDO networks) and Publicis (Third largest communications group comprising, among others, the Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett networks) had been well kept. And I guess the surprise was great for many employees and clients of both companies whose rivalry, especially in France, is well known. The Press Conference on Sunday afternoon has unveiled the creation of the Publicis Omnicom Group, led to become the First communications group in the world, with a market capitalization of $ 35.1 billion, making $ 22.7 billion in revenue, and with over 130,000 employees under the dual leadership of Maurice Levy and John Wren.

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Much has already been said this weekend on the merits of such a merger, given the wide geographic and expertise complementarity. Major global clients as well as local Publicis Omnicom Group clients will benefit from the size and quality of complementary world-class expertise now available within the same group. In order to better serve global clients, who have themselves consolidated, and to face new highly centralized digital players (like Google and Facebook), size matters. It will ensure that each agency servicing locally their clients will have access to the best quality at the best price in the world. Size will also help to accelerate the development of new disciplines related to the emergence of Big Data, and the transition from 360 communication (where location matters most: diffusion of a relevant message at the right place) to 365 communication (where time matters most: diffusion of a relevant message at the right time).

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Omnicom, which was for a long time the world’s leader in communication, before regaining it’s place today thanks to its merger with Publicis, had the opportunity to successfully experience this model through its three competitive advertising networks (TBWA, DDB and BBDO) with access to expertise in all areas. This did not prevent each of these three networks to compete each year in many awards and continuously seek to be recognized as the best. The result was that BBDO, DDB and TBWA have collected in the last 15 years, the largest number of creative awards, allowing Omnicom to be, more often than any other, recognized as the most creative group at the Cannes Lions Annual Awards.A healthy competition that has benefited clients of each agencies. But a competition that always took place with respect for the opponent and the rules of the game, ultimately leading DDB to congratulate TBWA for having maintained the confidence of the SNCF, or leading TBWA to congratulate DDB for having regained Bouygues Telecom’s trust, even if the two agencies had both given their maximum to triumph in both occasions. A game where performance takes precedence over any other criterion. Where everyone benefits, even when he looses, from the learning of the other’s victory. Knowledge that is also shared each year by key managers within the Omnicom University in Boston, with the help of professors from Harvard Business School.

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The interest and cultural challenge of the merger between Omnicom and Publicis, is, in my opinion, to keep this coopetitive state of mind. A state of mind which allows a healthy rivalry and allows to always move forward, keeping the spirit of competition, while developing cooperation whenever it makes sense for our clients. This should be facilitated by all employees who have had the opportunity to work in both groups, especially in France, with Publicis people who had the opportunity to work at TBWA (they are numerous and will recognize themselves). That is why, within the Publicis Omnicom Group, TBWA\Paris will remain more than ever a direct competitor to Publicis Conseil, as TBWA\Corporate will continue to try and prove that it is stronger than Publicis Consultants, to take only two examples of expertise among fifteen others that position TBWA and Publicis in direct competition. It’s because everyone will continue to want to be The Best that we will bring the best service to our clients. As demonstrated by France’s 100 meters freestyle swimming

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team yesterday afternoon, nothing is more effective than coopetition to maximize individual performance, while maximizing collective performance!

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