Monday, April 2, 2012

Why Chevy's new agency arrangement will work

Last week GM, IPG and Omnicom announced the formation of Commonwealth, an historic new structure for the advertising business for Chevrolet.

This is the first time two major agencies (McCann and Goodby) from different holding companies will share a global account and many are predicting nothing but trouble for two good reasons: greed and ego.

There are a lot of greedy and egotistical people in the ad business and for this reason, many are predicting subterfuge and shenanigans to abound with each agency throwing the other under the proverbial bus at every opportunity.

But here's why it will work: greed and ego.

Yes, right now they're all speaking in humble tones: "We're doing it for the team," "We have the client's best interest at heart," "We're so honored to be working with each other," blah, blah, blah...

In reality this arrangement will work because the leaders of both agencies know that 50% of $3 billion is better than 100% of $0. Both agencies know they don't have the resources to handle the business alone.

This will work because Joel Ewanick, Jeff Goodby and Nick Brien have healthy egos and pride themselves on doing what others tell them can't be done. Goodby will push McCann and McCann will push Goodby and Ewanick will push both making sure he gets the results GM needs from this partnership.

Greed and ego aren't necessarily bad things. In fact, you can't run a successful business without them. Ego is what keeps agencies from doing mediocre work, and greed is what makes sure they do it profitably.

It's when greed and ego get out of control – as was the case with all those brainiacs in the financial sector – that their effect becomes toxic.

Here's to hoping that doesn't happen in adland.

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