DDB Worldwide’s chairman emeritus Keith Reinhard considers his role as a co-founder of Omnicom in 1986 to be his greatest career accomplishment, but bringing disparate agency cultures together wasn’t easy.

Concurrent with the three-way union that formed Omnicom was the merger of Doyle Dane Bernbach, a New York agency, and Needham Harper Worldwide, which had its roots in Chicago and was fundamentally a Midwestern business.

“Trying to put those two together to create what is now DDB Worldwide was a real task,” says Reinhard, who had been Needham’s CEO, in an interview with Beet.TV. “I had some good people helping me, but there were also some people who were against it.”

A popular line of thinking at the time was that Omnicom was formed out of greed, and it had nothing to do with client service. But Reinhard says he had seen the writing on the wall: that consolidation was already well underway. There would be room for boutique agencies but “not so much in the middle ground.”

“Clients were going to need service all over the world,” he says. And creating Omnicom ensured that it would be possible.

Reinhard is interviewed by David J. Moore, Chairman of Xaxis and President or WPP Digital.

This segment is part of Beet.TV’s “Media Revolutionaries,” a 50-part series of interviews with key innovators and leaders in the media, technology and advertising industries, sponsored by Xaxis and Microsoft. Xaxis is a unit of WPP. Please visit this page to see more segments. 

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