Letter: Montreal view

I believe Mr. Michael Judson, in his article in the Jan. 9 issue, 'City's shops getting short shrift,' is presenting a point of view that does not accurately represent the view of most industry people in Montreal, as the title of...

I believe Mr. Michael Judson, in his article in the Jan. 9 issue, ‘City’s shops getting short shrift,’ is presenting a point of view that does not accurately represent the view of most industry people in Montreal, as the title of his column, Montreal View, suggests.

First of all, Mr. Judson, ‘guesses [that] Cossette and bcp must have a combined hold on 80% of the business in Quebec,’ when, in fact, a listing of the top 60 agencies in Quebec in 1993 had revenues of $159 million (according to Marketing magazine, May 2, 1994, page 14), with Cossette and bcp (ranked one and two, respectively) having combined revenues of $42.1 million. That’s 27%.

Secondly, Mr. Judson asks why Quebec is experiencing ‘an apparently inexorable tendency towards a one-/two-agency dictatorship?’

My sense is that Mr. Judson is not doing justice to the thriving business many smaller agencies are experiencing in this part of the country, and the numbers back me up.

There is a tremendous opportunity for talented people to develop ideas that build any client’s business, small or large.

I agree large agencies make clients feel safe, but smaller ones can and do, too.

Of the top 60 agencies listed in the Marketing article, $71 million in revenues came from agencies with less than 20 employees.

While I’d be at or near the front of the line of people who would like to see that figure grow, it’s still 45% of the $159 million these agencies made, and a more than acceptable performance.

My point is this. There is abundance of opportunity for every agency in this market. The criterion for success is not size. It’s the ability, and, most agency people will agree, to develop innovative ideas that sell by developing our people and understanding the needs of the ones we’re talking to.

And, one final comment.

Anyone who has read any of David Ogilvy’s books knows he understood this point. Because it’s his.

And, contrary to Mr. Judson’s view that Mr. Ogilvy was ‘incredibly lucky to have been building his agency when [and where] he did,’ I disagree.

Someone with that much talent could have planted the seeds of that agency anywhere and built his network.

Granted, he would eventually have had to include major cities, where the advertisers are, but the Montreal of 1995 could have been his starting point as easily as anywhere else.

And, that’s another Montreal View.

David Harries

Partner

Publicite Communication Foug

Montreal