Agency brief: 'Squeaky bum time' for agencies?

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A sign outside Accenture Ltd. offices.
A sign outside Accenture Ltd. offices. Credit: Dennis Brack/ Bloomberg News.

The encroachment of consultancies onto agency territory in this industry brings a mix of emotions ranging from low-grade panic to total nonchalance.

But my favorite reaction to this week's news that Accenture was launching a dedicated programmatic ad unit came from Twitter, where one user had an original take: It's "squeaky bum time for agencies."

If you're not a Brit, your reaction was probably a little something like mine, which was wondering what time that is and how to avoid it by all costs. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the phrase refers to "the final stages of a football competition when more than one team can win and people become very excited and nervous."

The unit, called Accenture Interactive Programmatic Services, will price services on a FTE model (or by hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis) instead of charging a percentage of media. Some have suggested the offering could create a conflict of interest.

Yet, some analysts say the news is not particularly meaningful for holding companies or their media agency divisions "which remain disproportionately important as we think they are still growing and generally produce higher margins than company-wide averages," according to a research note from Pivotal Research. "However, we recognize the news could contribute towards negative sentiment towards the group to the extent that investors interpret it as more meaningful than it is."

But enough on that. Grab your bums, squeaky as they may or may not be, and read on for the rest of this week's agency news. Then go enjoy your long weekend.

Jack Link's gets a new meat-ia agency of record
Jack Link's Protein Snacks has chosen indie media agency Empower as its media agency of record. Earlier this year, the brand picked GSD&M as its new creative and strategy agency of record, replacing Carmichael Lynch after a review. Carmichael Lynch had previously handled media.

#SponCon salon
A group of influencer marketing agencies announced this week they are forming an influencer marketing trade association called (you never would have guessed it) The Influencer Marketing Association. One major task at hand is the development of industry benchmarking standards to determine the effectiveness of influencer campaigns based on audience growth, performance analytics, consumer engagement and campaign reach, according to a statement from the association.

Getting experiential
In the last couple years, Omnicom has formed practice areas to "better leverage our resources and, when requested, create bespoke solutions for our clients," president and CEO John Wren wrote in a shareholder letter in 2017. This week, the group announced its "Omnicom Experiential Group," including agencies Auditoire, DOIT!, GMR Marketing, Luxury Makers and TRO, according to a statement from the holding company. "For global brands with a need to deliver global strategies with local insight, there is no better solution," Auditoire CEO Cyril Giorgini said in the statement.

On the move...
Zimmerman Advertising tapped agency vet Brad Higdon as chief marketing officer, in charge of business development efforts. Higdon most recently was president of MullenLowe, where he worked for roughly a year before his departure in 2017. Before Mullen, Higdon handled the Geico account at the Martin Agency.

IPG Mediabrands' UM has appointed a new global CFO — Jason Rosenbaum, who is joining from WebMD, where he built out a programmatic offering and audience platform. Karen Stutenroth "will continue to oversee U.S. financial operations, working closely with Jason," according to a memo from UM's global CEO Daryl Lee.

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