Ogilvy, Carat CEOs Clash on IAB Panel

Carla Hendra, David Verklin Spar Over Agency Structure at Mixx Conference

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Sparks were flying between Ogilvy North America co-CEO Carla Hendra and Carat Americas CEO David Verklin on the opening panel at IAB's Mixx Conference. And no, they weren't those kind of sparks.
Ogilvy North America co-CEO Carla Hendra said her agency is a fully integrated shop, but Carat Americas CEO David Verklin wasn't buying it.
Ogilvy North America co-CEO Carla Hendra said her agency is a fully integrated shop, but Carat Americas CEO David Verklin wasn't buying it.

After Mr. Verklin extolled the virtues of his recent merger of Carat and its digital network Carat Fusion, Ms. Hendra talked up Ogilvy's structure, including the fact the company had an interactive department, pre-internet, 25 years ago. Ogilvy, she said, is fully integrated.

"Do you buy that?" moderator David Kirkpatrick, an editor at Fortune, asked Mr. Verklin.

"No," he said flatly, arguing that with two separate profit-and-lost statements, it's impossible to manage a client's business.

"What they did a couple months ago, we did awhile ago," Ms. Hendra responded.

You don't have media capabilities, Mr. Verklin charged.

"We have a media company inside Ogilvy called Neo," she fired back, then attacked his earlier charge that Carat is now a creative shop, thanks to the addition of the interactive creatives that formerly lived within Carat Fusion. "You may have a 40-person creative dept. We have an 8,000 person creative department globally."

Mr. Verklin later said, "I would argue the hottest word in the media business today is an old idea: media mix. ... The typical Carat media plan today is more complicated, has way more components, more touch points, than ever before."

A neutral line
Sitting between the two, the third panelist, Rishad Tobaccowala, deftly toed a neutral line: "Jack Klues would never work for Lee Clow, and Lee Clow would never work for Jack Klues. And people need both."

Both models can work, he said. It's the team with disproportionate talent that wins. Mr. Tobaccowala also pointed out the potential conflict of media companies being charged with buying media at a time when unpaid media is becoming more important.

"The reality of it is people will always be analog," he said. "Everyone is thinking about different organizational structures, and because people are analog, they're going to fight over power and money. It's not going to change just because it's web 37.5."

The IAB's Mixx conference is an annual event held during the first two days of Advertising Week in New York. IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg kicked off the event noting that interactive media spending had hit a record high for the first six months of the year, up 26.8% from the same period last year to $10 billion.
Most Popular
In this article: