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DDB Worldwide

DDB Worldwide- owned by Omnicom Group- is one of the world's largest advertising agencies

Categories

Media and Communications  
Summary

Melbourne-based advertising agency DDB Worldwide- owned by Omnicom Group- is one of the world's largest advertising agencies with an interesting history of mergers. In 1986 two of the biggest international advertising networks- Doyle Dane Bernbach and Needham Harper- merged their agency operations to become DDB Needham. At that same time the owners of Doyle Dane Bernbach, Needham Harper and BBDO merged their shares to form the holding company- Omnicom. In 1996, DDB Needham was named DDB Worldwide.


History

Bill Bernbach and Ned Doyle worked together at Grey Advertising New York, where Bernbach was Creative Director. In 1949, they collaborated with Mac Dane who was running a modest agency and the trio opened "Doyle Dane Bernbach" in Manhattan. Dane ran the administrative and promotional aspects of the business; Doyle focused on clients; Bernbach led the creatives.

The agency's first ads were for Ohrbach's department store which showcased a new "soft-sell" approach to advertising with interesting slogans and wit contrasting the hard-sell style used at the time. Their campaigns for Volkswagen throughout the Fifties and Sixties revolutionised advertising. Notable campaigns include the 1959 Think Small campaign for Volkswagen which was voted the No. 1 campaign in Advertising Age's 1999 The Century of Advertising.

In 1959, the firm created iconic fictional Colombian coffee farmer Juan Valdez for National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, with the goal of distinguishing a hundred per cent Colombian coffee from coffee blended with beans from other countries. In 1960, the agency won the account of auto-rental agency Avis. The tongue-in-cheek creative slogan "We Try Harder Because We're Number 2" was a phenomenal success. The "Daisy" campaign- an American political advertisement that aired on television as part of Lyndon B. Johnson's 1964 presidential campaign- is considered one of the most important points in Johnson's landslide victory over the Republican Party's candidate Barry Goldwater. It was also considered a turning point in political and advertising history. The agency was on a roll. 1972's Little Mikey commercial for Quaker Oats won a Clio Award in 1974. In 1999 TV Guide ranked it the No. 10 commercial of all time.

A branch office opened in Los Angeles in 1954. In 1961 DDB opened its first International office in West Germany to service Volkswagen. Significant growth came in the mid-Sixties after the agency signed Mobil and the budgets grew exponentially. Offices opened in London and other European locations. Bernbach was appointed Chairman and CEO in 1968 when the agency was publicly listed. Shortly he became Chairman of the executive committee.

The impact of Doyle Dane Bernbach on the advertising industry and the history of management crises that led to a merger in 1986 is detailed in the book "Nobody's Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising." Written by Doris Willens- who was DDB's Director of Public Relations for eighteen years- the book is an inside story of the legendary advertising agency and its co-founder Bill Bernbach. By 1986- four years after Bernbach's death- the agency group reportedly had worldwide billings of US$1.67B and fifty-four offices in nineteen countries.

Let's digress to Needham Harper Worldwide which opened in Chicago in 1925 as Maurice H. Needham Co. with just two clients and billings totalling an estimated $270,000. By 1934, it was named Needham, Louis and Brorby Inc., with reported billings of US$1 million, had signed the Kraft Foods and opened a Hollywood office to service its clients' radio requirements. In 1951 the agency opened a New York office to focus on the television industry. That office merged with Doherty Clifford Steers and Shenfield in 1965 and changed its name to Needham, Harper and Steers. The Chicago office grew with accounts such as Morton Company, Household Finance Corporation, General Mills and Frigidaire. 

The firm won the Oklahoma gasoline and led to the campaign "Put a Tiger in Your Tank". It was one of the most successful petrol campaigns of all time! In 1966 the agency opened an office in Los Angeles to handle Continental Airlines. Another office opened in Washington D.C. in 1971 to service McDonald's. Soon this agency was winning government and media business and an "Issues and Images" division opened to service corporate public relations. The agency was on an upward growth trajectory and worked on public service campaigns like "Buckle Up for Safety" as well as a traffic campaign titled "Watch Out For The Other Guy" for Advertising Council. Keith L. Reinhard came from Chicago to head the firm in 1982 and by 1986 there were offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, Boston, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, Baltimore and Dayton.

How was Omnicom Group founded? Concerned by the hostile public company takeovers in the US in the Eighties Reinhard began discussions with BBDO president Allen Rosenshine about a merger that included Doyle Dane Bernbach. In 1986 the three networks merged into the Omnicom Group which would act as a holding company. At that time it was considered the world's largest global advertising agency. Reinhard became Chairman and CEO of the merged DDB Needham Worldwide, which suffered initial account losses due to conflicts but, by 1988, the firm began winning new account and has continued to grow since.

In 1998 -named DDB Worldwide- was honoured with the title of Advertising Age's "Global Network of the Year". In 2003 it earned the same title from Advertising Age and Adweek. It won the title from Adweek yet again in 2004. Subsequently its operating unit Tribal DDB became the first digital agency to be named "Global Network of the Year" by Advertising Age. In 2011  DDB Worldwide had more than two hundred offices in 95 countries.

In recent news DDB Worldwide announced that it has entered a partnership with Parley for the Oceans, a global environmental organization and impact network focused on driving solutions for climate change, plastic pollution and biodiversity loss with a collaborative, futurists’ approach to environmentalism. DDB and Parley will tap the power of creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation to move people, culture and businesses and invent a better tomorrow.


Mission

DDB Worldwide holds a simple belief — Unexpected Works. This belief revolves around the philosophy that the finest ideas are the ones we never anticipated. The true path to achieving genuinely unexpected outcomes lies in the realm of creativity. Not merely creativity that meets a specific brief and adheres to conventions but one that is unconventional, startling and compelling enough to arrest attention and drive sales. It's about possessing a fresh perspective and unbridled energy to introduce something entirely novel to the world. This entails having the audacity to disrupt the status quo and perhaps even dismantle a few conventions, all the while acknowledging that what many consider the finish line is just the beginning of the real work.


Vision

The agency's vision is centered on a profound belief: Unexpected Works. This philosophy underscores the philosophy that true innovation and excellence are born from the unexpected.. the unconventional. It emphasises that the most remarkable ideas are those that catch consumers off guard, arresting their attention. To achieve this level of genuine surprise and excellence, the brand champions creativity as the path. Creativity that is bold, unfamiliar and intriguing. This vision is rooted in the idea that true creativity demands a fresh perspective and unbridled energy to introduce something unprecedented to the world. In essence, the brand vision advocates a relentless pursuit of excellence.. underlining the idea that true creativity transforms the way we see the world. It is an invitation to push beyond the expected.. to question.. experiment.. and strive for the extraordinary.


Key Team

Marty O’Halloran (Global Chairman)

Alex Lubar (Global CEO)

Ari Weiss (Global Chief Creative Officer)

Donna Tobin (Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer)

Toby Pschorr ( CEO, DDB Germany Group)


Recognition and Awards
Among other awards.. the most prolific awards won by DDB Worldwide are 2023 Network of the Year at Cannes- Network of the Year for the past three years at D&AD- and Network of the Year at Effie US and Latina.

Products and Services

DDB Worldwide specializes in creating groundbreaking advertising campaigns that are designed to captivate audiences through their creativity. Their primary offering is the development of advertising ideas that are so unique and unexpected that they leave a lasting impression, compelling viewers to engage with the content. These ideas are not limited to conforming to conventional creative norms; instead, they strive for surprising, intriguing concepts that have the power to drive significant increases in sales. The team prides itself on having the courage to challenge the status quo, disrupt established norms and perceive that true success lies beyond what most consider the finish line.

Furthermore, the agency offers comprehensive services like strategic marketing solutions, helping clients develop and execute advertising campaigns that align with their brand's objectives. This includes brand development and messaging strategies that ensure their clients' brands are not only seen but also remembered. They excel in content creation across various media platforms and are well-versed in market research and analysis to gain insights into consumer behavior and industry trends. Additionally, the agency fosters a culture of creativity within its organizations. Their holistic approach to advertising encompasses everything from idea conception to campaign execution.. emphasizing that the real work of creativity continues even after the initial launch.


References
DDB Worldwide
Leadership team

Marty O’Halloran (Global Chairman)

Alex Lubar (Global CEO)

Ari Weiss (Global Chief Creative Officer)

Donna Tobin (Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer)

Toby Pschorr (CEO, DDB Germany Group)

Industries

Media and Communications

Number of Employees
1,000 - 20,000
Headquarters
195 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York 10007, US
Company Type
Subsidiary company
Company Registration
2772840
Social Media

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