Stefano Hatfield on Advertising

There's too much talent at the core for Lowe's network to unravel

Steve Gatfield has begun to demonstrate the steadying influence IPG was looking for when it made him worldwide CEO of Lowe, but that is not to say his job will be easy. He already seems to be pushing through some of the much-needed strong medicine needed to rescue a listing ship.

Lowe is to axe some 47 agencies around the world, presumably through sale and closure. It plans to have eight hub agencies in the UK, US, China, India, France, Sweden, Brazil and Thailand. And there are another 28 survivors, both partially and fully-owned. That still leaves 36; still too many to be a micro network like Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Fallon or Wieden & Kennedy, but not large enough to compete head-on with a TBWA or Young & Rubicam. Isn't this a halfway house?

Actually, there is a method to this middle ground. Lowe, because of its network legacy (especially through its Lintas roots), is very strong in some of the faster-growing markets of the world, notably in Asia and Latin America. So it is actually already in some of the markets you can expect those micro networks to expand into.

What's more, as Gatfield explained to me last week, most of these micro networks are essentially Brits and Americans scattered across the globe. The Lowe network is already genuinely multicultural and well placed locally. It sounds good in the telling, especially when you note how the network is just trying to mirror the revised structures of major client organisations, where local country management has ceded power to regional brand management. This is particularly the case in "old Europe", where the restructuring has been severe because of high labour costs.

The question remains: is it the end of the beginning of turnaround or the beginning of the end of the network? For what it is worth, my money's on the former. The network has too much top talent in key places to just unravel. It can have a real point of difference as a genuinely creatively driven network for those clients who care more about such attributes than flag-pins on maps.

* THIS SUBJECT really does come under the header of "boring, but important", so you can choose to skip the next few paragraphs if you like. They are about the TUPE or Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations, which come into effect on 6 April.

I know some of you have wised up to its significance, because when I asked for enlightenment on the subject last week I got my biggest ever mailbag in return.

Incredible as it sounds, from this Thursday, it seems (and I quote) any agency that wins a piece of business that had a dedicated or "predominantly" dedicated team working on it at the previous incumbent will have to offer jobs to the whole team from the losing agency if the staff choose to move with the account.

Curiously, staff can opt out of TUPE and decline to move with the account, but only if they resign and the agency re-hires them, but at the cost of losing their long-service rights and privileges. What's more, there is no definition of "predominantly".

Sounds crazy? In 1981, TUPE was designed to protect the rights of workers in firms that were being taken over. However, it was never intended for professional service companies.

One obvious potential outcome is that smaller agencies may not be able to land giant accounts, because they will not be able to afford to staff them. Many agencies take on new business in part because they have worked out a more financially efficient way of running the accounts. Opinions are divided over what the legislation will mean. Both advertiser and agency bodies alike have been preparing for its introduction. It will probably mean staff contracts will be reworked across the board to decrease the incidence of key individuals specialising on accounts - something clients are wanting more and more.

Although the IPA will continue to lobby the Government to have this legislation overturned, agencies can't afford to ignore TUPE. It affects absolutely everyone. They should be revisiting each and every one of their clients' contracts. The first test case will surely come however. I can only see chaos ahead.

* KEN KAESS wasn't like most network big cheeses. Of course, the DDB worldwide CEO - who died last week after an intense battle with cancer - had the "smarts", presence, contacts, people-management skills and fierce ambition to execute his job with aplomb, but he seemed to care a little more than most about the business, and its people.

Beneath the "hail fellow, well met" public exterior was a man of quite surprising insecurities. He was an oxymoron: a gauche smoothie. Scratch the permatan, the expensive suits or "business casual" dress code (that's American for polo shirts and chinos), and the just-so hair, or sup more than a couple of his favourite whiskies with him, and he revealed his self-doubts. He was anxious about the wider state of the business, being the man to restore DDB to its past glories, and, naturally, his own personal performance.

This could have been an act, but he seemed so earnestly concerned that it became clear what you got was what you saw. Witness his ability to abruptly cut off his speech mid-sentence when a pretty woman ventured upon his horizon - no matter how important the conversation. Among so many corporate stiffs talking golf and their 401K retirement plans, it was actually refreshingly human in an American CEO.

Ken did a fine job under the pressure of expectations at DDB. His predecessor, Keith Rheinhard, is one of the giants of world advertising, and the legacy of co-founder Bill Bernbach still looms large. Although the agency is still some way off reclaiming its former glory in New York, his tenure brought sustained growth and creative excellence. What's more, he was the driving force behind the annual Advertising Week in New York, a public celebration aimed at restoring the industry's image.

It was stunning to discover Ken was on lengthy sick leave last year, and then, having returned after six months or so, suddenly he was in terrible shape again. The advertising world is a poorer place for his passing.

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Legal Recruitment Consultant

Highly Competitive Salary + Commission: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL BASED - DEALING ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition