Tajer, Morgan in full-service stoush

By By David Blight | 1 June 2012
Henry Tajer and Robert Morgan.

As the industry debates whether full-service offerings will return en masse, bigwigs Henry Tajer and Robert Morgan have engaged in a war of words about adland’s evolution, and whether creative or media agencies are better placed to handle change.

Mediabrands Australia executive chairman Henry Tajer, whose media agency-led group recently acquired creative shop Airborne, has argued those companies which combine multiple capabilities in order to simplify the process for marketers will be well placed moving forward.

“I wouldn’t call it a return to full-service,” Tajer said. “The marketing industry has changed so much since the full-service model changed. It’s a move to new service. This is Darwin’s law, where the companies that adapt will thrive. That’s not to say volume-based media will go extinct, but there’s no reason why you can’t have more bells and whistles attached.”

But Clemenger Group executive chairman Robert Morgan, whose company has diversified interests but is best known for its creative powerhouse Clemenger BBDO, has come out swinging against Tajer’s claims. While Morgan’s group has interests across creative, media and marketing, he said agency badges remain separate.

“You can’t unscramble the egg,” Morgan told AdNews. “Agencies have become unbundled because clients wanted it. Henry [Tajer] is a good media guy, but he should stick to the media and leave creative to us.

“With all the money media agencies need to spend on planning and buying, no ad agency has the cash or the clients to justify doing the same. And for anyone building a creative department in a media agency, good luck. We’ll be shivering in our boots because I’m sure the best creative talent is dying to work in a media agency. The host body will reject the donor organ.”

Meanwhile, Tajer argued media agencies are best positioned to deal with this “evolution”, because “media agencies have been in a cycle of change for some time, dictated by the changing media landscape”.

However, Morgan said: “That’s nonsense. We’ve built an entire company in disciplines most have never heard about: design, experiential, PR, shopper marketing, government relations. Cut it out. We’ve been changing and growing, while they are just buying some TV and internet. Henry should stick to his knitting.”

Tajer said in response: “I obviously had my facts wrong about Rob being a modern-day, future-thinking guy. Stick to his knitting? Clemenger Group is a great group, so I’m surprised he took such a defensive line.”

This article first appeared in the 1 June 2012 edition of AdNews. Click here to subscribe for more news, features and opinion.

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