How much client-conflict fallout will the blockbuster Publicis-Omnicom deal really spawn? Even Omnicom CEO John Wren himself said he anticipates that some conflict-related "difficulties" will grow out of the merger.
Still, it's too early to tell what new business spoils the merger might yield for competitors like WPP or Interpublic, despite early speculation.
Key brands in question remain largely mum. Adweek contacted more than a dozen brands that could find fault in the merger. Five refused comment, and four did not immediately respond. The others said they planned no immediate changes.
And it’s not clear how much turmoil new conflicts would cause in an already-consolidated agency world where competing brands working with different agencies across a single holding company's global portfolio isn't uncommon.
"Client conflict risks are not as severe as might be feared, although some near-term disruption is expected," said JP Morgan analyst Alexia Quadrani in a report on the merger, citing Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Yum Brands, AT&T and Verizon among key areas of concern. "While some conflicted accounts may head elsewhere, advertisers in general are far less sensitive to having a competitor within a holding company than in the past, and the larger size of this new company will make individual client exposure less significant."
The merging companies, of course, hope to hash out arrangements with any marketers who are concerned. “First of all, we are months and months away from having finished the transaction because of all of the regulatory approvals we have to get," Wren told Bloomberg TV. "And our plan, each of us separately are going to sit down with our major clients and discuss their needs, our need, and whether we can develop a meaningful solution to any issues that they have. We have plenty of time to do that, and we will do that.”