No Pissing in Tea Cups? A Case for Consolidating Marketing Agency Spend

This story in the New York Times about a recent controversy surrounding a Eurostar advertisement in Belgium nearly took the piss out of me. Apparently, "An advertisement in Belgium promoting the newly accelerated Euro-star trains recently caused a rare sense-of-humor failure in Britain ... The ad, a poster showing a shaven-headed English soccer hooligan urinating into a teacup, was discovered by British journalists who traveled to Brussels for the opening of the new high-speed train service from London via the English Channel ... The indignation eased when cooler heads consulted their travel guidebooks and realized that the pose of the 'skinhead' closely matched that of a Brussels landmark, the Manneken Pis statue."

Personally, I think the advertisement was a stroke of creative genius, but then again, my wife has to deal with my often twisted literary schoolboy humor around the house. But what's not so funny is how Eurostar is wasting money and receiving lesser service by working with three separate marketing agencies. According to the article, Eurostar works "in Brussels, with TBWA, part of the Omnicom Group; in London, with Fallon, owned by the Publicis Groupe; and in Paris with Leg, whose parent is Havas." Eurostar should have read the whitepaper that I referenced in this earlier post on how best to source marketing spend.

If it were my vote, from a creative standpoint in this case, I would have to go with Omnicom. In addition to their "pissing" stunt, I love how in order "to reinforce the idea that London is just around the corner" they took "over part of a Brussels bar called the Walvis, or Whale, turning it into an English pub. On one side, Belgian beer is served; on the other, English ale." Even though half of my family is from the UK and I love a good pint of bitter, I know what side I would frequent. What do you think? Does anyone else who reads this blog agree that Belgium brewers make the best beer in the world?

Jason Busch

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