LG-One, it’s groundhog day again

WPP are doing it again. Just nanoseconds after they proved they could not make the ‘bespoke’ agency unit work for Dell, they have sold the concept to LG! It is astounding. Today’s PR Week says:

“Consumer electronics giant LG has handed its multimillion-pound global PR account to a new bespoke agency unit created by WPP Group.

“LG’s Seoul-based global comms director Ken Hong told PRWeek that the unit, called LG-One, would comprise a multi-agency team of WPP companies, led by new appointment Luca Penati.

“While Hong declined to name the WPP agencies involved, it is expected elements from the holding company’s three PR networks – Ogilvy PR, Hill & Knowlton and Burson-Marsteller – will share the business”.

They are even calling it an agency again. Admittedly LG-One is not quite as pretentious as Enfatico who promised to ‘blow-up preconceptions’, ‘build something that’s never existed before’, be a ‘global agency’, ‘designed from the ground up to create value for our clients’, just before they collapsed. And a quick search reveals no grandiose web site so maybe feet are a little more planted, but guys, IT IS NOT AN AGENCY. BM, H&K and Ogilvy are all agencies with vibrant cultures, distinct ways of working, long heritage, great stories, rewarding career paths and much more. LG-One is just a billing mechanism to avoid client conflcit so stop calling it anything else please.

Categories Technology

13 thoughts on “LG-One, it’s groundhog day again

  1. David, I think your POV carries a lot of weight. It’s also worth noting that Luca Penati will remain in an Ogilvy position while heading LG-One.

    Interestingly, WPP’s Y&R also handles advertising, and I think LG might be trying to integrate more closely with this too…Meanwhile, I must say I’ve heard plenty of clients saying that Enfatico was the ‘right idea, wrong execution’. Thoughts?


  2. Arun,

    interesting if they are trying to integrate across the lines, and of course that would make sense. That is of course, what so much of all of this is about.

    But the HSBC, Dell, IBM, LG you name it “one agency” approach has never to my knowledge actually worked. All of the above have been trumpeted at some stage and I am sure you will cover more over the next few years, but not one has worked. Can you think of one?

    So you have to ask, did the people in all these cases just execute badly or is the design fatally flawed?


  3. It’s quite a bold statement to be so openly critical of a competitor but I have to say, I am very glad you did.

    Maybe it’s because I’m a straight-talking Northerner (read: potty-mouthed!!), but I instantly switch off – nay get angry, when an agency says something like “designed from the ground-up to create agency value” and “blue-sky thinking”.

    Agencies like ours are made of up of human beings, not mission statement-programmed robots.

    For me, an ability to show the people and the culture of an agency alongside its work is far more important than the usual distracting fluff.

    I’d probably be in a better mood had Leeds United won last night, but my anger over this kind of convoluted, self-indulgent PR by WPP would probably not wane!


  4. Good point. Can’t think of one that has worked. The common theme to all these stories, though, is that clients want this kind of product for two primary reasons: (1) presumed service/cost benefit and (2) conflict avoidance.

    So, if the design is flawed, is there a way to make it work – given that the specific client demand is unlikely to abate?

    Worth reading Mark Kleinman’s excellent column on this in Marketing: http://tinyurl.com/qlv8n3


  5. Paul,

    Really sorry about last night mate. I felt for you when I heard the news.

    I’m not critical BM or Ogilvy or H&K, but I am of WPP for repeatedly mis-selling this myth that an “agency” can be created around one client.

    BM, Ogilvy and H&K are proper agencies. LG-One is not.


  6. On behalf of the LG-One team I want to make a distinction between offering a team that is right for the business and creating a new agency. No one involved has suggested a new entity.


  7. Hi Luca thanks for the comment. Are you saying that PR Week made it up when they said that LG-One was a “bespoke agency unit” created by WPP?”


  8. Hi David,

    I am saying that no one is setting up a new standalone agency. What we have offered is a multi-agency team called LG-One.


  9. Ok thanks Luca. Am a little puzzled by PR Week’s reporting but all the best with it.


  10. David, not sure why it is so puzzling. All we have tried to say is it is a tailormade unit made up of people from different agencies. Might sound like semantics but we have not said it is a ‘standalone’ agency.

    Still don’t think that invalidates any of your initial points.


  11. Binu Thankappan August 23, 2011 — 1:22 pm


    In these turbulent economic times, is it a prudent decision to create a separate entity with all necessary logistical support systems in place to service a client rather than have the existing infrastructure to carry-out the work? After all what is needed is to ideate and that does not necessarily need any adherant physical office, or does it?


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