wpp’s davinci wants you if you want them

The word on the street, yelled most loudly by George Parker from his AdScam corner stall, is that WPP is not going to use outside recruiters to staff up their new single-client agency DaVinci.

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WPP feels like they and DaVinci have had enough coverage in the news, trades and blogs to do the work of attracting talent for them.

Reading the blog entries about the new agency, including mine, it’s hard to figure out why WPP thinks that industry folk would be interested in signing up…

At any rate, the DaVinci agency is a terrible idea. Why Dell thinks that building a new agency from scratch, with all that means for lack of culture, lack of structure, lack of team, lack of anything except a bunch of random people working together for the first time at a place that has no identity at all, is a good idea is beyond reasonable assessment.

Blogger Phil Gomes brings up a similar experiment years ago that, predictably, failed:

“After a successful five-year run with [PR agency] Applied Communications, Oracle decided to go with a megafirm built by Cunningham, Hill & Knowlton, and Ogilvy, Adams & Rinehart. In no time at all, Applied had the business again.”

Attracting talent by word of mouth (and by their awful website) for a project like this is also a bad idea.

Instead of senior leadership having an idea of who they want to attract and tasking actual professionals with getting those people on board, they are instead relying on staffing up with whoever pops by. It’s like those marketers who put a video on YouTube and wonder why it doesn’t take off…people need to know that it is there and know why they should view it. This whole fiasco leads me to believe that DaVinci just want/need warm bodies with advertising experience and have no clue what else matters or what even the agency stands for.

Of course, the agency stands for holding company greed and willingness to do anything for new business.

Hard to hire good people on that model.

Even harder if you don’t bother to hire professionals to help.

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6 responses to “wpp’s davinci wants you if you want them

  1. Sounds like to me, Dell would have been better off spending their money on creating an in-house agency. It would have the same end result but they would be able to control their own work and give less money to WPP. This has doom to fail all over it, especially since they are not going after talent or at least building a upper management structure. Think about the people who will end up working there. They will have to win a lot of new business in order to keep their employees when they lose the Dell account.

  2. Hey, thanks for the nod.

    This angle about not using outside recruiters is interesting. At some point, I have to imagine that folks over there will be asking themselves “What business am I in? Communications or recruiting?”

    Or are they anticipating an inbound flood of resumes?

    I’m not willing to write off the DaVinci effort just yet — they have smart people in Dell’s comms group who have the requisite been-there-done-that’edness — but, as I pointed out, there is some recent historical context that bears consideration.

  3. @DB: I suspect there are enough out-of-permanent-work ad people, who, sensing a drying up of freelance this year, are loudly knocking on DaVinci’s doors.

    I mean it’s worth shooting them a resume, given that you have no idea who’s going to be running the place and all. (You can always tell them “no thanks.”)

    @Phil: I suspect they have in-house recruiters/creative managers sorting through all the resumes for them – it’s a lot cheaper– and probably more efficient-= than paying outside recruiters.

  4. @ TT: I am sure that there are a ton of people who are interested. In this business everyone is looking for leverage, an angle or what-have-you. And you make a good point, until it’s clear who is running the shop it could be either an opportunity or a closed door. That said, from a client perspective, it makes no sense to want a new shop built just for you because of all the teething issues, lack of culture, lack of foundation, etc and so on.

    @ Zach: Yours is the key point. Though Dell is as invested in DaVinci’s success as WPP is, if I am a DaVinci staffer I am nervous until some new business starts coming in the doors. This industry is too up and down to feel comfortable at a one-client shop.

  5. Dailybiz, RELAX. You’re going to give yourself a heart attack.
    *Hugs* from DaVinci.

  6. @ Leo: Thank you for the hug…I needed it today, actually. You guys at Davinci are the best.

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