LOS ANGELES -- The proposed combination of Publicis and Omnicom Group would create an advertising behemoth with combined revenues of nearly $23 billion last year.
But despite its heft and reach, the new No. 1 advertising holding company won't change much in auto advertising on its own -- for now. Big ad groups have long been able to handle rival brands under one roof -- not to mention interlocking ties with digital, public relations and multicultural ad agencies -- without concerns about conflicts.
Indeed, the near-term impact of the merger may pale in comparison with the tumult that has already swept the automotive ad world over the past year.
American Honda's decades-long relationship with RPA was tested in a review of its estimated $700 million account that ended in March with RPA keeping the Honda brand business while losing Acura to Interpublic-owned Mullen. RPA also lost media-buying for both brands to MediaVest USA, which is owned by Publicis.
Also in March, Chevrolet brass shook up its lead agency, Commonwealth, by consolidating the business into Interpublic-owned McCann Worldgroup. McCann previously shared ownership of Commonwealth 50-50 with Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein and Partners.
In June, Cadillac broke up with Fallon in favor of Rogue, a team-based agency made from pieces of Campbell Ewald, Hill Holliday and Lowe, all owned by Interpublic.
The adjacent diagram shows how auto industry brands are scattered across the ad agency landscape. The firms listed are either the agency of record ("agency") or responsible for media planning or buying ("media").