BMZ (Germany)

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BMZ was an integrated marketing services agency in Germany, owned for several years by Publicis Groupe. It was significant as the one of the last remaining outposts of FCA!BMZ, a European advertising network created following the break-up of Publicis's disastrous 1990 joint venture with FCB. Following the acquisition of Saatchi & Saatchi by Publicis, most units of FCA!BMZ were gradually absorbed into the Saatchi network, leaving Germany's BMZ as a standalone unit. It relaunched as integrated agency BMZ+more in 2002. In 2006 it was, for a while, reassigned by Publicis to become a strategic partner within Germany to Dentsu, and was later aligned with the Publicis Worldwide network. Finally in 2009 the agency, now BMZ once more, was absorbed into Saatchi & Saatchi's German network.

In 1971 Georg Baums, Thomas Mang and Peter Zimmermann set up their own agency in Duesseldorf, using their initials for its name. The agency achieved modest success over the next few years, and was eventually swept up into the merger fever that occupied the advertising industry in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1988 US giant FCB, keen to establish a foothold in Europe, acquired a 49% stake in BMZ. Two years later, the agency was transferred into FCB's newly established global joint venture with Publicis, and BMZ's Baums took on the role of chairman of newly created Publicis FCB.

Meanwhile, an entirely separate French agency, FCA, was also exploiting the merger mania of the time. FCA had launched in Paris in 1966 under the name Feldman Calleux et Associes. During the 1980s, it was one of several French groups which began looking beyond their own borders to develop a global profile. In 1988, FCA moved into the UK, acquiring stakes in London agency Mavity Gilmore Jaune and other companies. More importantly, however, it took a big jump into the US in 1991, snapping up highly regarded New York shop The Bloom Agency. Following the appointment of a new CEO the following year, the renamed Bloom FCA began pitching aggressively for new business, not least against its larger New York rival, FCB.

By 1993, the three-year old marriage between Publicis and FCB was already beginning to show its cracks. It was the French group however which arguably triggered the full break-up of that partnership when, without consulting FCB, it acquired fast-expanding Groupe FCA and announced the rebranding of Bloom FCA as Publicis/Bloom. FCB's senior managers were outraged, claiming that the move constituted breach of contract since the two erstwhile partners had agreed not to compete in each other's home territory. Publicis, though, refused to back down on the purchase. This proved the last straw in the already strained relationship, and after a two-year freeze, Publicis and FCB set about splitting up their various European assets. FCA and BMZ were merged as FCA!BMZ, and full control of both agencies and their various satellites was assumed by Publicis.

As Publicis continued to expand its operations, FCA!BMZ effectively became the group's second-string network, establishing numerous outposts in Europe, as well its first in Asia in Singapore. Most new offices adopted the name FCA!BMZ, apart from the German business, which retained the title BMZ!FCA. UK outpost FCA! was the result of several further mergers during the 1990s, including through-the-line agency Impact (formerly FCB Direct) and above-the-line Kelly Weedon Shute (in 1997). By 1998, the network claimed billings of around $458m, of which around 40% was contributed by its German office.

Yet FCA's days were numbered. Following Publicis's purchase of Saatchi & Saatchi, the French parent was reported to be exploring a merger of the FCA network with Saatchi. However client conflicts in Germany (where BMZ was actually bigger than Saatchi's) made a full merger impossible. Early in 2001, FCA's London office was absorbed into the main Publicis operation. Shortly afterwards the agency's Spanish operations were moved into Saatchi premises. Gradually the other offices were also absorbed into Saatchi. Finally, in mid-2001, Publicis announced that FCA in France would be absorbed into Publicis Conseil, leaving the German agency as the sole remaining outpost.

BMZ relaunched in 2002, operating as a fully integrated marketing services group. While the main agency offered traditional creative advertising, a collection of diversified subsidiaries under the banner of More Gruppe provided PR (More relations), direct marketing (one2one), interactive (More Interactive) and sales promotion (More Sales). A separate media buying unit, More Media, was absorbed into Zenith in 2002 to form ZenithMoremedia. It shortened its name to the more uniform Zenith Media in three years later.

In 2006, Publicis announced that BMZ, along with Publicis Paname in France, would become a collaborative partner for Japanese marketing giant Dentsu, despite the fact that Dentsu already owned another German creative agency, Cayenne. The two companies described the partnership as "close collaboration at management level" designed to strengthen BMZ's ability to offer advertising services to Japanese clients in Germany. However it was motivated mainly by BMZ's existing relationship with key client Toyota. There was little evidence of any closer collaboration and BMZ eventually drifted into an alignment with the Publicis Worldwide network. All BMZ's various satellite units were absorbed into the main agency in 2007 to form BMZ+more. However, Toyota's decision to consolidate most of its European business into Saatchi & Saatchi prompted a decision to integrate BMZ with that agency from August 2009.

Last full revision 4th July 2018


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