A&E; No Accident or Emergency

I was thrilled this week to see such a bold move from Adam &Eve.

They have done incredibly well in a short space of time, and their trajectory is such that they need to have an international platform in order to go from local hotshop to international engine of creative influence.

They’ve done it all before, they know about networks and will be able to give the DDB brand in Europe the make over it needs.

We’ve always enjoyed working alongside the big networks, as it usually gives us the opportunity to play to our strengths (speed, innovation, integration, value), without the politics and pressures of being the global AOR.

But iris will need to be able to cope with the heat and compromise of these sorts of roles as we mature as a global network. Will the guys at A&E also have the stomach for this?

Well, I suppose that there are two ways of looking at this.

The first is financial. Because this looks like a merger, it is going to be impossible to have a deal that works in the same that way that normal earn outs do. They are now responsible for the whole of DDB’s performance and not just their own. They are going to have to find a way of being both creative purists and network politicians if they are to get close to earning anywhere near the reported £60 million that is on the table for them to have a run at.

The second is organizational. They need to play their own game, stick to what has taken them this far, give all the network heavy lifting to those that have the stomach for it. They should change DDB to make it more like A&E definitely, but they should take their time.

Deals like this give the industry the pep it needs. Entrepreneurs need to be able to see that stepping out of perfectly reasonable and well-paid jobs into the ‘fire pit of risk’ of a start-up can be worth it.

Not since VCCP sold to Chime has there been such a significant power play. I just hope that DDB let them have the freedom that they need to deliver.  My sense is that VCCP have had this, and this may be the biggest single factor in their ability to attract and keep talent and be able to achieve growth over longer periods.

If this happens they will get their full £60 million, they will have transformed DDB and they will have been worth it.

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