Loveurope looks to life after McCann

Simon Nias
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Loveurope chief executive Steve Owens focuses on the positives following long-standing client McCann Worldgroup's decision to bring its pre-media work in-house under the Craft Worldwide brand.

In a move that mirrored rival WPP's decision to set up Hogarth Worldwide - bringing the bulk of the pre-media work it had been outsourcing to Tag in-house in the process - McCann announced before Christmas that it was setting up Craft Worldwide.

"Obviously the need to demonstrate these specialist capabilities is becoming standard practice amongst the multinational agency groups and holding companies, with the WPP/Hogarth initiative probably the most aggressive example of this," said Owens.

Craft has essentially been formed by the rebranding and repatriating of McCann Worldgroup's existing global agency studio resources, including the Loveurope satellite studios dotted throughout McCann's network.

Commenting on McCann's decision to set up it's own production network, Owens said: "For the Love Group, whilst this changes the nature of our historic McCann partnership, we look forward to maintaining a healthy working relationship with them, as we share some important and long-standing mutual production client relationships.

"From the perspective of the independant production market, we don't expect any great impact. In truth there are very few examples of network production businesses truly expanding beyond the confines of their own groups and we see the success of Craft inextricably linked to the success of McCann on the world stage."

As with the Tag/WPP separation, McCann's decision to set up Craft Worldwide will inevitably present Love Group with the opportunity to grow its direct to client business.

Former Tag chief executive Steve Parish told Campaign in 2011 - some two years after WPP transferred its work to Hogarth - that the production firm's client mix had gone from an even split between agencies and advertisers to as much as 80% direct to client in the space of five years.

Owens said that he wished Craft "the best of fortune", adding that the relationship between McCann and Loveurope had delivered "many years of award-winning work and great commercial success for McCann" and "an excellent stabilising base for our own business to grow and evolve into the full service multi-channel production group it is today".

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