The Drum Awards Festival - Official Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Marketing Moments Publicis Groupe Omnicom

2014: The Omnicom/Publicis Groupe failed merger


By The Drum Team, Editorial

March 31, 2016 | 3 min read

To celebrate the Ad Club of New York's 120th anniversary, The Drum is inviting readers to share their favorite marketing moments from the past 120 years.

Omnicom Publicis

Levy & Wren

Today's marketing moment was chosen by Stephen Lepitak, editor of The Drum. Below, find out why he chose the failed merger of Omnicom and Publicis Groupe as a top marketing moment.

The weekend that lead to the announcement of the agreed merger of these two giants will live long in my memory as what seemed like the impossible on a Friday evening as I managed to confirm within hours.

However Omnicom chief John Wren and his Publicis counterpart Maurice Levy had managed to come to this agreement with literally no one becoming aware beforehand was incredible, so to see them sitting together in Paris on the following Sunday afternoon announcing officially to the media that they intended to overtake WPP as the world's largest advertising holding company was unprecedented.

The deal would, among other things, answer the succession question at Publicis, with Levy announcing he intended to step down and retire after a length of time to allow Wren to run the overall business on his own.

Levy did most of the talking during the press conference, but the two were both firm in their beliefs that this was the correct way forward for their clients. Many were openly skeptical, not least their greatest rival, WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell.

And indeed, the following year, after spending millions on legal and financial professionals, with rumours of internal wrangling creating a great deal of friction and uncertainty, the deal was called to a halt with both networks choosing to continue in their separate ways, leaving the long-lasting question - what if?

See the full 120 Marketing Moments in the dedicated online section and find out how to purchase the exclusive book.

Marketing Moments Publicis Groupe Omnicom

More from Marketing Moments

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +