In what must rank as one of the strangest pitch outcomes ever, holding company WPP has won the worldwide Dell Computer business…provided it start a completely new 1,000 person agency to handle the account.
I too would be willing to do a lot for a $4.5 billion account that is reported to have $150 million in revenues for WPP.
Ad Age reports that Dell and WPP will “jointly develop what we hope is the greatest agency in the world.” According to Casey Jones, VP-Global Marketing at Dell, “this will be a nontraditional relationship and the purpose of it is to achieve marketing objectives of Dell’s that are simply not achievable either with our current roster of agencies or with a patchwork quilt of shops stitched together.”
If I understand this correctly, Dell is just too much account to be handled by any of the myriad of agencies in the world and requires a shop built just for them.
That might explain why their sales have tanked relative to Apple and Hewlett-Packard. They just needed a different ad agency. Or something like that.
Though this blog usually applauds new ways of looking at the traditional client-agency relationship, this deal looks to be simply a continuation of the classic agency model, only with a newly-formed, dedicated agency instead of a more established shop.
So nothing is really non-traditional…the only news is that a new shop has been created just for Dell.
Why Dell thinks that an agency that is whipped together out of thin air and disparate parts will be better than an agency that knows who they are, what they do and how they do it is beyond me. All people, process and even furniture will be new. They are supposed to start up out of nothing and immediately and seamlessly do great work, insightful and flawlessly executed work?
It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
And, though Dell will allow this new agency to take on additional non-competitive business, it is still an agency built specifically for around one client. And we all know how finicky clients can be (especially if things do not run smoothly right from the beginning). What happens if Dell leaves WPP?
And when did WPP become more than just a holding company? It used to be that agencies had their own brand and that marketers wanted to work with specific agencies because of their unique strengths and how they aligned with the needs of the marketer. Holding companies were mere financial vehicles. Not anymore. And this is not a good thing.
Creativity is not something that comes out of large corporate structures and what are the holding companies but large, corporate structures?