by Johanna McDowell (@jomcdowell) NEW YORK: Breakfast with Lowe and Partners was how we began Day 4 (Thursday 9 October) of the 2014 AdForum Worldwide Summit in New York City. CEO Michael Wall, informed us of the renaissance that Lowe is going through, as well as the various structural changes in the work.

AdForum Worldwide SummitLowe

Lowe has merged its Lowe Profero (digital) business into Lowe so that the agency is now a fully integrated shop. Significant business has been won in the past 12 months throughout the network of 90 agencies and the work that we were shown was particularly strong.

The Lowe network is also very strong on effectiveness in advertising and is no. 1 in Asia for this attribute.

Creatively, the agency network is enjoying prominence once more and is winning against stiff competition from some of the more obviously creative agency networks. The Brazilian agency, Borghi Lowe, is the strongest agency in Latin America and is a highlight of creativity within the network.

When it comes to Lowe in Africa, it has always had a presence in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, and continues to operate in those countries at a good level. In South Africa, the agency will be acting slightly differently, with Lowe Cape Town being considered more of a boutique agency and with Lowe Johannesburg — soon to have Julian Ribeiro as group CEO — rebuilding its offering within the country.

Lots of positive news for this network that had — for a couple of years — started to disappear. Watch this space.

Saatchi & Saatchi New York

Saatchi & Saatchi New York was our next stop and, again, a lot of news within the network.

Restructuring at the top, along with a whole new team in New York, is setting the stage for a return to the leading-edge advertising that the network was famous for a while back — and for many years.

Saatchi New York is led by Brent Smart, an edgy Australian who knows exactly what he wants to achieve within the agency. It is building a “maker” culture within the agency, with a focus on building campaigns and products for clients.

The network is building hubs of excellence, and not replicating services. Saatchi Synergise (recently bought here) is seen as a centre of excellence for search and SEO, for example.

Martin Agency

The Martin Agency was next. This is an independent agency, largely US-based, but recently opened in London. It is part of the IPG network and uses that to distribute the campaigns it creates for such clients as Oreo.

Strong on craft, devoted to great design and copy, with some wonderful case studies of fully integrated advertising which it has practiced for years. Clear thinking and highly creative — it was a highlight of Day 4.

Brooklyn Brothers

Last stop was the Brooklyn Brothers, another micro-network and one we met three years ago in New York.

Famous for its work around Iceland and Iceland tourism, this agency network has expanded its client list to include Jaguar and Castrol, and is producing excellent creative work that again produces great results. Refreshing in its approach and lots of fun.

Offices are in London, New York and Sao Paulo, and network offices are in other significant places, including Cape Town, where it has a partnership with insights agency Tag.

And that was Day 4.

In the evening, AdForum hosted all of the agencies that we have met this week, including R/GA which we are seeing today, along with RECMA and the 4 A’s.

More soon!

@jomcdowell  @agencyselection

Johanna McDowellJohanna McDowell is managing director of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS), which stands at the forefront of the complex world of agency selection in South Africa, and she is one of the few experts driving this mediation and advisory service in SA and globally. Twice a year she attends AdForum Worldwide Summits as an international consultant, which helps her lead the SA advertising industry forward to keep in line with international trends and remain competitive. Follow her on Twitter at @jomcdowell.

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