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WA independents targeted from the east

PERTH’S independent advertising agencies have been targeted by an east coast company seeking to create Australia’s first national advertising consortium.

At least two Perth agencies have been approached to join the venture which is understood to have been the brainchild of Sydney industry heavyweight Michael Ball.

Perth sources said the proposed conglomerate would offer agencies representation on a board with share incentives. Agencies would apparently be offered shares pro rata, partly on the basis of their billings.

WA agencies without obvious succession plans are considered likely recruits for the consortium, offering the liquidity some agency partners would be looking for to exit the business.

“The consortium can offer partners in agencies without a succession plan, a way to eventually get their money out” said an industry source.

Mr Ball denied talking to any advertising agencies in Perth and was unwilling to discuss the possibility of a national alliance.

“He’s a very smart man Michael Ball, he’s internationally very well known,” said an industry director.

If it went ahead, the consortium would be the first national alliance of its type in the advertising industry in Australia.

Not all of the agencies approached responded positively.

“We’re just not sure there were any creative advantages to the consortium” said a Perth advertising agency source.

The Perth advertising industry has suffered in recent years with national clients moving their advertising business to agencies based in Sydney and Melbourne.

In an environment where Perth’s agencies are fighting over a small number of big clients, a national alliance is seen as a way of arming smaller agencies with the resources to attract the larger financial and creative clients in WA.

Big government and commercial clients are often seen as beyond the reach of smaller agencies.

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