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Reading: Indie PR CEOs Frown on Omnicom-Publicis Merger

by Frank Strong

Ben Franklin is attributed as saying, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”  Here are some great reads (and one view) for this weekend.

1. Caturday Catvertising.  By 2015, 90 percent of the content on the internet will be about cats. You might laugh, but somehow that is nearly believable. If you work in marketing, you must watch the video nearby. If its Saturday morning and you are drinking coffee – you’ve been warned: wear a bib.

Marketers cool on 3rd party research

Marketers cool on 3rd party research

2. Marketers cooling on 3rd party data.  Social interaction is up and surveys are down — at least by measure of the year-over-year trend-line in this eMarketing report:  What Data are Marketers Analyzing?  Certainly, businesses, indeed all organizations have better access to capture and rationalize social media data. Arguably, social data is the world’s largest focus group, but why would they shun 3rd party research?  It’s useful to have someone outside an organization offer a research opinion; keeps us all grounded.  Just like that oft-cited phrase that Henry Ford never actually said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

3. Maddening Yelp.  There’s a cool 2.6 million search results in Google for the words, “filtered reviews on Yelp.”  Fortunately for Yelp the company’s FAQs on the topic pops  near the top.  Unfortunately for honest reviewers and businesses, the FAQs aren’t exactly helpful:  there’s little you can do if your review is (unfairly) filtered, like this one for Skydive Orange (Yelp gladly published my photos and yet filtered my rather in-depth review). Why is that?  Marketing Land’s Matt McGee has some insight in 4 Things That Tend To Trigger Yelp’s Review Filter.

4. Independent PR leaders pooh-poohs Omnicom merger with Publicis.
 There was no shortage of commentary on this proposed deal; several outlets reported the merger is really a tech battle, with the likes of Google and Facebook. Ragan’s Matt Wilson did a nice round up, which he does often to breaking news.

  • Hoffman: Lou Hoffman, who head’s up a 100+ person independent and truly global PR shop, doesn’t “see even a breadcrumb” of advantage for clients.
  • Defren: Shift Communications CEO, Todd Defren, is also down on the merger and cites conflict, internal rivalry, churn and those promise cost-savings that are bound to have internal departments stepping on each other to save their jobs. “Make no mistake, this merger was about Advertising, Technology and Media Buying more so than Public Relations,” he writes, calling the “intrinsic value” of earned media a “missed opportunity.”
  • Edelman: Richard Edelman, this one, not that one, and who also earned a plug in this column last week, writes, “I am not afraid. You should not be either. Bigger does not mean better.”  Edelman is of course, heads the largest independent PR firm in the world, which at the present time, happens to also be the largest.
  • Dietrich: SpinSuck’s Gini Dietrich is stand out in her view point:  she thinks it does make a difference — a difference in scale. Citing a friend working at a large company she writes, “‘Google pays attention when we call'” or “‘Facebook wants to help us find ways to use the data differently.'”
  • TBA:  Next, Thursday I’ll have another interview in the Off Script series with a really savvy guy from yet another sizable independent PR firm who has strong views on this topic. I. Cannot. Wait. To. Publish. That. One.

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  • LouHoffman

    Hi Frank,
    I suppose it’s natural that independents would take the position that girth does not equal good.
    Many of the media stories shared Gini’s view that the scale would help the merged entity when it comes to the purchase of media from the Facebooks and Googles of the world. I must be dense because I don’t get this point.

    • LouHoffman Agreed, is is very natural for independents to oppose girth, but I also think that’s playing to the base. Both a massive conglomerate and indies have a niche of clients the other cannot possibly reach.  So it’s smart business, if commentary, IMHO.
      As for Gini’s view and the rest, I see it like this: it is the Sam’s Club model for new media ads.  Buy in bulk and get a discount.  Buy in really large bulk, and you might just shape the product offering (for your benefit and that of your customers).  That’s what a conglomerate is trying to do.  
      The problem with it is this: Google has more cash in the bank right now, than the entire ad industry spends on TV ads (still the 800 lbs gorilla) in a year.  There isn’t a merger in the world that can influence Google;  you got a chance at pull with Facebook…at least until it’s stock price floats for $41 per share.

      • LouHoffman

        Frank_Strong Now, I get it. Thanks.

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