Agency loses Lowe franchise

Staff at advertising agency Lowe Dubai are to go it alone after losing the franchise for the international agency.

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By  Tim Addington Published  January 15, 2006

Staff at advertising agency Lowe Dubai are to go it alone after losing the franchise for the international agency. The Lowe name — and the lucrative global clients that go with it — will now come under the region’s Middle East Communication Networks group, Campaign can reveal. Many of the 45-strong Dubai-based team have apparently rejected offers to join MCN, which includes Fortune Promoseven, and will set up their own agency once the Lowe name is transferred at the end of April. The renamed agency will probably be called Brand Com and it will retain more than 20 clients, although the internationally-aligned business of Unilever and Johnson & Johnson will move under the Lowe umbrella to MCN. Lowe’s owner, Interpublic Group, which already has a stake in the MCN business, decided on the move following a spate of account losses worldwide. Nirmal Diwadkar, chief operating officer for Lowe in the Middle East, said: “I do believe some people here have had some offers to go to MCN, but I don’t think any of them have taken them up. We are going to establish our own agency. Nobody that I know in our unit is going to team up with MCN group. “The Lowe franchise will go to the MCN group, I don’t know what they will do with it. We continue to have it until the end of April when it will move over.” He said the company had discussed the changes with its clients who had expressed their support for the new agency. He also predicted that the Lowe branded agencies across the rest of the region, which will also lose the name to the MCN group, would retain an alliance with his new agency. “None of our non-aligned clients have shown any inclination to move over, and they have decided to stay with us,” Diwadkar added. Late last year, Frank Lowe, founder of the network, came back into the industry to set up his own business, taking the US$88 million account for UK supermarket giant Tesco with him. Lowe worldwide has been rocked by a number of major account losses over the last two years, including those of HSBC, Braun and the Surf laundry detergent work. Michael Roth, CEO and co-chairman of IPG, recently described Lowe as “work in progress”.

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