IPG's Roth pushes power of 'agency brands' in Q1 call

"The best creative ideas come from strong agency brands."

While a number of holding companies are consolidating and merging agencies, Interpublic Group CEO Michael Roth emphasized the importance of its individual brands during Friday morning’s Q1 earnings call.

"When we say we are a client-centric holding company, it means we support and invest in our agency brands, and put collaboration at our core," he said. "This focus has meant we remain vital in new business, we drive high levels of industry recognition, and we are able to attract and retain talent who want to develop their careers with us."

Roth added that the "best creative ideas come from strong agency brands."

In the first quarter of 2019, IPG reported 6.4 percent organic net revenue growth to $2 billion. The U.S. saw a net organic increase of 5.7 percent, while international growth was up 7.7 percent. Total revenue of $2.36 billion in the first quarter of 2019 jumped 8.9 percent, year-over-year. The company saw a net loss of $9.5 million compared to a net loss of $16.1 million in Q1 of 2018.

The total growth of net revenue was 13 percent for the quarter, which includes revenue from Acxiom, which is "on track with our expectations," Roth said.

While IPG has focused on leveraging Acxiom for media, the company will shift gears this year. "Going forward, we see Acxiom adding tremendous opportunity for our creative assets, as well, allowing for personalized, storytelling, done globally and at scale for our clients," said Roth.

When asked about Publicis’ recent acquisition of Epsilon, Roth said Publicis’ history of integrating agencies "hasn’t exactly been stellar," and the deal is a way for the company to be more in line with others in the industries.

As for Accenture acquiring Droga5, Roth said IPG shops compete with them both and he’s interested to watch the integration. However, he said he hasn’t seen a lot of RFPs in which IPG is competing with Accenture. The consultancy, he said, is sometimes handed business because they’re already with the clients, which is where the traditional agencies miss out.

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