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Reinhard champions agency integration

News, 05 July 2016

NEW YORK: Agencies may need to find new ways of integrating creative and media responsibilities if they are to serve the evolving requirements of clients, according to Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide.

Speaking to Warc in an interview, Reinhard – a co-founder of Omnicom Group, and the brains behind the iconic "You Deserve a Break Today" campaign for McDonald's – argued the division between creative and media is breaking down.

"There are a lot of people now calling for some kind of re-integration of these two disciplines, and I would be with those," he said. (For more, including insights on storytelling and the client–agency relationship, read Warc's exclusive report: From copywriter to CEO: Keith Reinhard on the past, present and future of advertising.)

"It's becoming almost impossible to separate the content from connection – the lines are blurring. We need to work together. How that integration will take place I'm not sure, but it needs to happen."

More specifically, he asserted that legacy networks are catching up on digital, in particular. And that trend, in turn, may prompt some established shops to revert to increasingly integrated solutions.

"Now we've learned how to do all this stuff, I think there will be a consolidation again, and clients will encourage it in some cases, because they're going to be able once again to deal with a new definition of the full-service agency," he said.

Reinhard has been a long-term advocate of agency integration, and championed this idea in the mid-1980s when Omnicom originally formed, even if alternative ideas largely won the day.

"I wanted to have the agencies keep all of those [disciplines] together, because I could see a time when that's what our offering had to be," he said. I've always believed that we had to be integrated."

While the 1990s heralded the rise of specialist media agencies, and the 2000s saw digital and mobile experts go it alone, Reinhard believes DDB's history offers a valuable example for the industry today.

"Within DDB, we had elevated the media practice to where it belonged. With the proliferation of media channels, we had to start asking the questions 'Where?' and 'When?' even before what we're going to say and how we're going to say it … So we called media our 'other creative department'," he said.

Data sourced from Warc