Life is good when you’re a hot young ad shop, with lots of buzz and a wacky name (sure, Mother, Naked, and Strawberry Frog are a little goofy, but they’re a vast improvement over their poetically named elders like BBDO, DDB, PHD, OMD). But what if Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, came along and offered you a pile of money to join his exclusive little 39,000 member club of companies? Would you do it?
That was the question moderator Andrew Jaffe put to a panel of upstarts at yesterday’s “New Kids on the Block” seminar during Ad Week. Not surprisingly, all the panelists claimed they wouldn’t be tempted.
“We’ve been approached by a lot of companies, but we’re not interested,” said Scott Goodson, CEO of Strawberry Frog. “Clients like that we control our own financial destiny.”
“Independence is very important for our model,” said Jason DeLand, the biz dev guy from Anomaly. “The idea of having somebody telling us what to do would kill what we’ve been trying to accomplish.
“We are not, and will never be — as long as I’m alive — for sale,” said Taxi chairman Paul Lavoie.
It will be fun to watch what happens to these mavericks as they compete in an increasingly consolidated marketplace. Is the future in the hands of the small and nimble, or in the paws of the giants who can offer integrated services on five continents?
Here’s hoping they thrive enough to resist the lure of the filthy lucre and stock options. …and the pressure to change their evocative names to a string of letters.