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Publicis-Omnicom merger is born out of intense desire to be number one: Sam Balsara

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Publicis-Omnicom merger is born out of intense desire to be number one: Sam Balsara

Even after the formation of new entity Publicis Omnicom Group – the result of the $35 billion merger of America-based Omnicom Group with French-rooted Publicis Groupe – WPP continues to retain its number one position in India.

A merger of this scale undoubtedly brings benefits in terms of enhanced power of scale, which is a precious tool in the media business today. If the newly formed Publicis Omnicom Group was to use this power for negotiation in consolidated buying, it is bound to impact other networks as well. It will be interesting to see the impact of this merger in the Indian market.

“The impact of the merger on the media industry scenario in India is not going to be very high. It is not going to alter the media scenario in India. WPP will still be number one and far ahead. The world today is getting obsessed with being number one and this merger is nothing besides the desire to be number one,” said Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director, Madison World.

On client conflict, Balsara believes that with competition across categories increasing, conflicts are a way of life today. Agencies today know how to handle and assure their clients about data and systems, making sure there is confidentiality maintained,” he stated.

“A case in point is when WPP took over Mediacom with the P&G business, while it still had a relationship with HUL; this it has still managed to keep intact in most markets. On the people front, I don’t forsee an issue except the very top echelons of the management layer at the country level. But, both the companies have large independent agencies, wherein the backyard operations and synergies will be mainly integrated,” he added.

Coming to the creative world, will the coming together of BBH India, Leo Burnett, Publicis Capital, Publicis Ambience, Saatchi & Saatchi and Orchard Advertising impact the creative industry in India?

“There will no impact on the advertising community; only the media buying and selling power of the new entity will be hugely strengthened. Integration on the creative front will lead to big exits as every agency has a certain culture and creative people have their own way of functioning,” commented Santosh Padhi, Co – Founder and Chief Creative Officer Taproot India – the agency was acquired by Japan-based Dentsu mid last year.

Likening the Publicis – Omnicom deal to the Taproot – Dentsu partnership, Padhi added, “The Dentsu – Taproot partnership is like two families coming together; there is bonding and we will be closely working together, whereas the Publicis – Omnicom partnership is the coming together of two nations with different cultures.”


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