This week, the Omnicom Group revealed its not-so-secret weapon in classic Transformers style.
As part of an effort to more effectively serve a wide range of global clients across agencies, the holding company combined the New York-based studio production departments of BBDO, DDB and TBWA, forming a single entity called eg+ worldwide.
The studio production teams from those agencies will now effectively live under one roof. The main New York offices, which officially launched Aug. 31, are located at 1285 Avenue of the Americas, which doubles as the headquarters of BBDO. An Omnicom spokesperson told Adweek it will also open "satellite offices" at various agencies when needed as part of "a hub-and-spoke approach."
The move is the latest phase of a project launched in 2014, when content marketing company E-Graphics merged with Hub Plus to form eg+. Omnicom calls the resulting group a "global implementation and production agency," and the shop's CEO, Paul Hosea, who formerly ran E-Graphics, told Adweek, "We focus on production strategies and plans for clients' assets with KPIs around asset development," adding, "We have 1,200 employees and offices in 14 countries."
Two of those offices are in London and Singapore, and over the past nine months, Omnicom has pooled its resources there to create local eg+ units. Repeating the pattern in New York was a natural next step in the evolution of the project.
So, what's the bigger story? eg+ is less a shift toward more efficient production capabilities than it is a companywide effort to address clients' growing need for services that don't fall under the traditional advertising banner. This means on-the-spot content creation, locally targeted campaigns and real-time marketing.
"We will work with the agencies to not produce commercials, per se, but to provide the distribution and applications of their messages both above and below the line," Hosea said. "We work across media—digital, print, moving images and ATL work."
The key issue for Omnicom is flexibility and a greater capacity for "quick turnaround." Hosea said, "Global clients are requesting more channels, and we had to scale to distribute their messages in all mediums."
Managing director George Ashbrook, who has worked on the project since its inception last year, will also oversee its New York operations while reporting to eg+ president of the Americas Miles Peacock (who, in return, reports to Hosea).
The agencies involved will maintain their independence, but production teams within each shop will now collaborate across accounts with the "capabilities of eg+ available to each client." The larger company will continue working with third-party production studios while simultaneously handling more of its production duties in house.
Omnicom thinks the new unit will affect future pitches in which Hosea and others hope to highlight a "more competitive, more comprehensive offering." As Omnicom senior vp of finance and controller Peter Swiecicki told Adweek, "The brain and the heart [of our company] is with the agencies," and "the arms and legs are eg+."
Swiecicki called the new arrangement "business as usual but better," noting that Omnicom's ultimate goal is to have the ability to more easily achieve global scale with clients' marketing efforts. Hosea said his fellow holding company executives see this as "a key role" in the market moving forward—though he can't speak for competitors like WPP, which recently arranged a "preferential media pricing" (read: BFF) relationship with BuzzFeed and its in-house production studios.
Most of the employees working in the production departments at BBDO, DDB and TBWA have already relocated to the "hub," with more moves expected in the coming months.
This isn't your standard round of staffing changes, though. Hosea told Adweek, "There will be some restructuring in terms of titles and responsibilities," but "we don't see any redundancies. So there will be no reduction in staffing at all."