Carat and MEC fight to deliver knockout new-business blow

Carat and MEC appear to be inextricably bound together at the moment when it comes to new business.

Like a pair of Greco-Roman wrestlers, these two media heavyweights throw each other around, alternately coming up top one minute and being flipped over the next.

The current cycle began at the end of last year when Carat snatched the Gocompare.com and Wickes accounts from MEC, propelling it to the top of the media billings table. The double loss, coming as it did like two molars being wrenched out in quick succession, left a £50 million-sized cavity in MEC's UK client roster.

The throbbing was no doubt exacerbated by the fact that MEC's new-business talent Cormac Loughran had just three months earlier been poached by Carat. Whether or not his appointment was a tipping influence, it certainly served as a metaphor for Carat's upturn in fortunes at MEC's expense.

More recently, the two shops have been the leading contenders in this summer's European deadlocks, notably Beiersdorf and Johnson & Johnson. While MEC will be feeling more buoyant after winning Beiersdorf's North European business off its rival, Carat has just thrown a blow by extracting the $500 million Macy's business from MEC in the US. With a J&J decision expected as Campaign went to press, both shops remained determined to win at the final stage.

It begs the question: what is it about these two in particular that has landed them at the epicentre of new-business movement in the past year? Carat's part is clear: in the past two years, the agency has attracted a spread of talent spearheaded by Tracey De Groose, interrogated and resold its proposition, made strategic acquisitions and launched an energetic new-business offensive. In chess terms, it is on the attack and its set piece is impressive.

MEC is equally hungry. As one of the largest UK media shops, it suffers from the situation that the more business you have, the more vulnerable you are to poachers. But the same can be said of the biggest of them all, MediaCom, and yet MEC's big sister has not suffered much business churn at all in the past 18 months. This leads some critics to say that perhaps MEC has grown too fast and is too stretched, while more generous onlookers will argue that every agency has its cycles of ups and downs.

Certainly, with the almighty weight of WPP and the power of Sir Martin Sorrell behind it, MEC is not going to give up on the new-business biscuit easily. And with Aegis soaring from its global success with General Motors and high with local drive, it is an act not to be underestimated. One thing is for sure: in the short term, these two titans leave little room for anyone else to be so fixedly determined.

0
SHARES
Comment

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs
Thousands of jobs across advertising, creative, marketing and media

Just published

Feel you're missing out?

GET THE
BRANDREPUBLIC
BULLETINS
Sign up

The Wall Blog

From our partners

3 great ads I had nothing to do with: Robert Campbell

3 great ads I had nothing to do with: Robert Campbell

3 great ads I had nothing to do with: Brian Cooper

3 great ads I had nothing to do with: Brian Cooper

3 great ads I had nothing to do with: Catherine Kehoe

3 great ads I had nothing to do with: Catherine Kehoe

A day in the life of Jozef Wallis

A day in the life of Jozef Wallis

A day in the life of Arthur Kay

A day in the life of Arthur Kay

A day in the life of Daniel Kaplansky

A day in the life of Daniel Kaplansky