Stretching the accordion
Jul 30th 2009 | NEW YORK
From The Economist print edition
The recession forces agencies to branch out.
广告代理商们一直都在担心如果只从事广告业务, 他们能否保持盈利。今年他们的客户不停的缩减广告开支, 更加剧了他们的这种担心。因此, 很多人开始另辟蹊径, 一家总部设在纽约的广告代理商Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners (KBP)公司的联合主席Richard Kirshenbaum, 认为“广告这个行业就像一个手风琴, 我们要不停地把它拉开来满足客户们的需求。” KBP已经增加了几个独立于他们核心领域的几个部门来扩展业务, 包括去年设立的一个公共关系部门和Varick媒体管理公司, 这是一家数据分析和投资管理公司。
ADVERTISING agencies have been worrying for years that advertising alone will not pay enough to keep them afloat. This year their clients’ slashed ad budgets have heightened that anxiety. As a result, many have branched out. Richard Kirshenbaum, co-chairman of Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners (KBP), a New York-based agency, says the industry’s “business model is more like an accordion. We keep stretching it to meet our clients’ needs.” KBP has expanded by adding several divisions that are separate from its core business, including a public-relations unit and Varick Media Management, a data-analysis and investment-management firm launched last year.
还不光是KBP这一家。Euro RSCG(灵智) , 法国HAVAS(哈瓦斯/汉威士) 集团旗下的一家公司, 在2008年收购了一家音乐制作公司, 叫 The Hours。它签下了几个刚出道的艺人并且正在等待他们的上镜, 这还不只是为了增加公司的收入。哈瓦斯集团本身也开始向一些和广告也联系不是很紧密的领域拓展业务, 它收购了一家英国的娱乐和项目策划公司Cake。WPP下属公司Ogilvy & Mather在5月份设立了一家提供绿化设计服务的公司OgilvyEarth。它今年还扩展了一项独立的危机营销业务来给一些公司的营销预算出谋划策。
KBP is not alone. Euro RSCG, a unit of Havas, a French advertising group, acquired its own music label, called The Hours, in 2008. It has signed budding artists and is hoping for their stardom, not least because it will help fill the firm’s coffers. Havas, too, has branched out into an area not typically associated with advertising by acquiring Cake, a British entertainment and event-planning agency. In May Ogilvy & Mather, a subsidiary of WPP, an advertising conglomerate, launched OgilvyEarth, which advises firms on greenery. It also started a separate Recession Marketing Practice this year to counsel companies on how to use their marketing budgets wisely.
一些代理商也开始不满足于光为客户出谋划策, 而开始要求和客户们共同分享策划案带来的收益。所以一家广告公司BBH也设立一个公司Zag, 来为它自己的产品做设计, 营销和分销。它成功的业务包括将一种包装好的素食放到一家英国超市里销售, 和一种能模仿女人尖叫的安全报警装置。BBH希望Zag能在两年的时间内把它的收入提高的总公司的四分之一, 当然这个目标还很遥远。另外一家代理商Anomaly已经决定发掘它自身知识产权的效益, 因为广告业务只占它总收入的一半还不到。
Some agencies have tired of coming up with clever ideas for clients without winning a share of the resulting revenues. So BBH, a global advertising firm, has set up a unit called Zag, which designs, markets and distributes its own products. Its successes include a range of prepackaged vegetarian food sold at Tesco, a British supermarket, and a security device that imitates the sound of a woman’s scream. BBH hopes Zag will provide a quarter of its revenue within two years, though that target remains distant. Another agency, Anomaly, has decided to focus on developing its own intellectual property; advertising accounts for less than half of its revenue.
经营副业听上去似乎很诱人。但是Ogilvy的老板Miles Young认为, 光这样是不能让公司摆脱困境的。他坚信, 代理商们将业务扩展到那些他们不是很精通的项目上去, 是下下策。并且, 现在黯淡的经济形式也不适合这样的尝试, 让一个幼小的公司发展起来需要很多的资金和时间, 而这些正是许多代理商们现在所没有的。
Moonlighting may sound appealing. But it will not be the singular solution to the industry’s troubles, argues Miles Young, Ogilvy’s boss. He believes it is “downright dotty” for agencies to expand into areas that are not an extension of their core expertise. Besides, the grim economic climate does not favour such dabbling. It takes cash and time to develop a fledgling unit. Those are two things that many agencies do not have.
翻译: Eco Team