Allen Rosenshine, chairman of BBDO, created Omnicom Group in 1986 by joining BBDO, Doyle Dane Bernbach and Needham, Harper & Steers in an effort to counter the expansion of Britain's Saatchi & Saatchi. Although the creation of Omnicom resulted in the loss of $117 million in billings among the three agencies because of client conflicts, the company reported worldwide billings of $58.08 billion in 2001.
After leading the company for three years, Mr. Rosenshine resigned as president-CEO, and Bruce Crawford became chairman. He was general manager of New York's Metropolitan Opera from 1983 to 1989; before that, he served as president of BBDO from 1975 to 1983. Mr. Crawford was chairman-CEO until 1996, when John Wren became CEO, in addition to being Omnicom's president. Mr. Crawford continued as chairman.
In 1986, Omnicom consisted of BBDO Worldwide; DDB Needham Worldwide, created by the merger of Doyle Dane Bernbach and Needham, Harper & Steers; and Diversified Agencies Services, whose units provided services in direct response, public relations, promotional marketing and specialty communications.
In the late 1990s, the conglomerate expanded to include Omnicom Media Group, which consisted of two global media services companies, Optimum Media Direction Worldwide and the PHD Network. Another Omnicom company, Communicade, held minority interests in leading interactive agencies, which in 1998 accounted for about 1,500 employees and $180 million in revenue, about one-third of the interactive market that year. Its agencies included Agency.com, Razorfish, Organic, Red Sky Interactive and Headhunter.net.
At the turn of the 21st century, the Omnicom Group included three of the top 10 global ad agency networks, all based in New York: BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide Communications and TBWA Worldwide, which it added in 1994. Omnicom also owned several U.S.-based national ad agencies that act independently, including Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco; GSD&M, Austin, Texas; Martin-Williams, Minneapolis; and Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, New York. Diversified Agencies Services consisted of more than 100 companies in 60 countries and generated more than one-third of Omnicom's revenues.
Late in 2000, Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide landed what was probably the largest account in the automotive industry: DaimlerChrysler's $1.8 billion global advertising account for its Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep brands. To handle the business outside the U.S., the holding company created a new agency, PentaMark Worldwide, and gave the creative business to BBDO, Detroit, and the media to PHD. Omnicom also acquired the Arnell Group in 2000, as well as the New York-based Grizzard Communications Group and Promotion Network, Dallas.
Omnicom was the No. 1 marketing organization in the world in 2003, with worldwide revenue of $8.6 billion, up 14.4% over 2002 figures, according to Advertising Age. Its U.S. revenue was $4.7 billion, an increase of 10.2%.