Reader Reaction to WPP’s John St. Acquisition
March 05, 2013 | David Thomas | Comments
John St.’s move under the WPP umbrella is proving to be a really polarizing talking point in agency circles, and it’s the most-read story on our website. No surprise, this kind of deal pits those who applaud the partners for taking some money off the table for all their hard work in building one of the country’s leading independent creative agencies versus those who hate to see the little guys lose their small or mid-sized indie cred.
For John St. the rational issue was a need to tap WPP for specialties in media planning and buying, PR and direct response. But a lot of the reaction out there is more visceral than rational.
It’s a debate that never goes out of style and one I will be moderating on Thursday as part of DX3 in Toronto (Debate: Big Agencies Don’t Get It). I’ll see you there at 10 a.m. when I sit between Andy Shortt, owner of HQvB, and Matt Hassell, chief creative officer at OgilvyOne Worldwide Toronto.
Here are some of the comments generated by our story on John St. joining the WPP network:
WPP Fan: “RIP John St. staffers, welcome to the world of wage freezes… as you are now under the thumb of a global network, subject to global economic influences (only the negative ones). Line up and get your numbers, as you are now unimportant tiny cogs in a giant machine fuelled by Sir. Martin’s ego and shareholder greed.”
Cristo: “WPP is that nerd who thinks that if they walk into a store and buy cool stuff, they’ll be cool. What they fail to realize is that when they go to try and wear it out in public they can’t pull it off.”
Envious: “Couldn’t happen to a better bunch of folks..and everyone some memory here…they were originally owned by Genovese and all the partners ponied up and bought the company from him.Good guys do finish first!”
Nobodyworksforfree: “If somebody offered you millions for the business you built from nothing, thereby assuring your financial happiness for the rest of eternity, would you say no? Obviously not, so stop whining. It’s called business and you’re clearly not awesome at it.”
Kirk: “They had the guts to start their own company. You didn’t. Stop whining.”
Chaching: “Congrats to the partners and their enormous cheques. May they all retire early and happy while the rest of us slog it out for 94 more years in the biz.
I hope the partners spend a nice chunk of their windfalls giving all their staff nice bonuses.”
spoton: “So when does John St. move from John St. to Bloor St.? Does that require a rebrand?”
NOOOOOOOO: “Say it ain’t so Boys. This is a sad day.”
realist: “dont fool yourselves. John St have been shopping around for a sale for quite a while. wake up. it is a money game on both sides. the partners make a few millions and WPP makes shareholders happy. end of story.”
sheela: “It is a sad day. Of course they all make millions. JS will become another “number” in the Wire Paper Plastics family of companies – also “fondly” called Why Pay People. JS will have to “stand in line” for their mediocre handouts. JS should have hooked up with an independent like themselves to get their DR, PR, Media. There are lots of very “smart” boutiques out there which have senior people who have true passion for the work they do. But like someone said, everyone wants to make their millions. chaching chaching chaching.”
Matt: “another great shop gobbled up…unfortunate.”