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Global Advertising Agency Networks Show Rapid Growth in Ad Age's Dots Charts

By Published on .

When Advertising Age began charting advertisers' agency assignments worldwide in 1984, the editors went to an art store to buy paper dots, then laboriously stuck them on charts. If an elbow slipped, dots skidded off the page. Now the `dot charts" are done on Quark Xpress for Advertising Age International-and that's the least of the changes in 12 years.

Beyond a handful of U.S. giants with international brands like Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble, few clients were aligned with their agencies on a worldwide basis. And agencies had far fewer offices to handle them.

GLOBAL GROWTH

Just in the last five years, Grey Advertising has grown to serve 78 countries worldwide, from 50 in 1991, while J. Walter Thompson is only a few markets behind, with its advertising appearing in 67 countries, up from 48 in 1991. D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles has led the most dramatic expansion move-to 98 countries, from only 30 in 1991, as the agency network had to hurry to keep up with global clients.

McCann-Erickson remains in the lead, with advertising running in 107 countries, compared with 72 five years ago.

The biggest changes happened in the 1990s. As clients consolidated their biggest brands with a single agency regionally or globally, agency networks hired a phalanx of worldwide new business directors, international media directors and worldwide account directors.

"Six years ago we were really a domestic agency," said Cleve Langton, DDB Needham's worldwide new business director. "Now everything we do is multinational. The whole income mix has changed."

DDB has doubled its offices around the world-to 86, from 43 in 1991. And five years ago the network handled only 10 clients in 10 or more countries, compared with 21 today.

McCann-Erickson leads the pack with clients in 10 or more countries, with 49-almost double the 26 from five years ago.

ONLY 2 AGENCIES DECLINE

Grey's growth has been the most dramatic-up to 43 clients in 10 or more countries, from only 14 in 1991. McCann, for example, has won Samsung and Bacardi, and Grey has picked up Iberia and Quaker Oats. Ogilvy & Mather now has 26 such clients, down from 27 in 1991. Only Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and Saatchi & Saatchi report coordinating fewer clients in 10 market or more than five years ago. Saatchi attributes its decrease to the defection or the consolidation to other agencies of big accounts such as British Airways, ICI, L.A. Gear and Hilton Hotels.

The big news in Ad Age's 1984 World Brands report was the trend toward agency centralization and the rise of "world brands" positioned the same way around the world. N.V. Philips moved some accounts from local to international agencies; Bates set up a Multinational Client Operating Group in part to handle the global marketing of Colgate-Palmolive (now a Young & Rubicam global client), and McCann-Erickson handled the international launch of Eastman Kodak's line of video cassettes.

Now Philips uses two agencies worldwide-Euro RSCG and DMB&B.

ROSTERS GETTING SMALLER

Like Philips, many marketers have chopped their agency rosters, usually to between two and four international agency networks. The pendulum started to swingGrowth, consolidation

GROWTH from Page I-33

two years ago with IBM's $400 million move to Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide from 40 agencies scattered around the world. The biggest international account moves of the last year have been to a single agency.

Among others, Colgate-Palmolive axed Foote, Cone & Belding to make Young & Rubicam its sole global agency. Reckitt & Colman made a similar move to McCann-Erickson.

Seasoned international agency execs believe this trend is too radical to last, reasoning that marketers with multiple international brands and products will eventually want the security of at least a second network.

Meanwhile, new world brands are developing all the time.

Microsoft, which didn't exist as an international brand a few years ago, recently masterminded the worldwide introduction of Windows '95. U.S. multinationals, along with a few key European marketers like Unilever and Nestle, have been the prime sources of growth for U.S. and U.K.-owned agency networks. French and Japanese agency networks lag far behind.

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