IPG signs advertising pact with Microsoft

10 February 2010

NEW YORK: Interpublic Group, the advertising agency holding company, has formed a new online advertising partnership with Microsoft, the IT giant.

Under the terms of the deal, Microsoft will be the first port of call for a range of services linked to web-based campaigns developed by agencies like McCann-Erickson and Deutsch.

More specifically, Atlas Worldwide, which offers a range of ad serving and analytic tools, will become the "default" system utilised by these shops.

IPG boasts global annual billings of around $30 billion (€21.9bn; £19.2bn), and holds accounts for major marketers including Coca-Cola, Dunkin' Donuts, Volkswagen and Wal-Mart.

Alongside creating bespoke applications for IPG's clients, Microsoft will use its "engagement mapping" system to assess the impact of communications.

This approach is argued to show how "each ad exposure  whether display, rich media or search, seen multiple times on multiple sites and across many channels influenced an eventual purchase."

While Interpublic's agencies and their clients will still be able to work with Google, Yahoo and other rival operators, Microsoft will take on a preferred status.

Scott Howe, corporate vice president of Microsoft's advertising and publisher solutions arm, said "we take this as a sign that we're a good partner and that it's a sign of future things to come."

Last year, WPP and Google began to fund research into online advertising, despite the fact Sir Martin Sorrell, ceo of the former organisation, had previously described the search firm as a "frenemy".

Quentin George, chief digital officer at Mediabrands, IPG's media buying arm, said that partnerships of this kind are likely to become a major feature of the landscape going forward.

"We've figured out that we have to use technology to make buying, selling, and trading work better for brands," he said. "We'll see a much more digitally dynamic environment in the future."

"[Microsoft] creates platforms that give subject experts opportunities to innovate on them," he added. "This gives us the ability to shape more of our own future."

Data sourced from Forbes; additional content by Warc staff