ISBA hits out at ‘restrictive’ Publicis Omnicom merger

The body representing the interests of British advertisers, ISBA has hit out at the £23bn merger of Publicis and Omnicom claiming the deal will restrict choice for brands. 

Publicis Omnicom

The weekend agreement to form the world’s biggest advertising group will bring together agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, BBDO, Leo Burnett, BBH, Interbrand, ZenithOptimedia, OMD and StarcomMediaVest under one banner.

In a statement, ISBA says the merger raises “significant concerns” about market dominance and the restriction of choice for advertisers. It plans to consult its members to get their thoughts on how the deal will affect media buying and trading power.

Bob Wooton, director of media and advertising at ISBA, says: “‘Advertisers will approach this news with open eyes. ISBA has been aware for some time that the next big competition issue would probably be a mega agency merger. Now we indeed know that the new Group would be big.

“We have a long standing concern about the effects of excessive concentration on business. We hope that this news does not signal greater concentration that would raise greater concern amongst advertisers.”

At a press conference announcing the deal yesterday (29 July), Publicis CEO Maurice Levy said both companies had years of experience in setting up “strict firewalls” to protect client interests. He emphasised “this is a new company for a new world”, with the ability tackle the development of new internet giants, changing consumer behaviour, the blurring of roles of all the players in the market and the explosion of big data

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