WPP + Yahoo! – Good For Marketers??

AdWeek (yes, I know, they’re always mentioned, but they are on top of things usually) has a story out, today, that discusses the deal between WPP and Yahoo!.  For those of you that don’t know, WPP is a holding company that owns 254 agency brands worldwide.  The following are some better known names:

Sorry about the long list, but I sort of took a walk down memory lane… I’ve worked for the WPP companies in the past and know people at most, if not all, of the agencies above.  Read my commentary after the break about why I think this is HORRIBLE for marketers…

So, back to the question… is the good for marketers?  Well, media companies have sort of been doing stuff like this for years, buying "blocks" of time for their client during the "upfronts," etc….  This, however, in my view, goes FAR beyond those "upfront" buys.  We now have a media company providing a toolkit into ITS platform only and partnering with a HUGE holding company to push that toolkit down stream to the individual media planning and buying agencies.  The agencies just became incentivized to do business with Yahoo!’s properties and not Google‘s and other’s properties.  The interesting conflict here is that some of the WPP brands represent the MSN group, and other Microsoft brands, so it’ll be interesting to see how this "plays out," on the ground with the individual agencies.  In the past, when WPP has "pushed" things like this down to the individual agencies it has been done as effectively as possible, the Team Detroit group, above, is an example where a client wanted to unify their business systems and WPP "merged" three large agencies into a single entity and LOTS of people on the business side of those agencies were asked to "leave the building."