Monday, June 29, 2009

Like the Bing logo? Microsoft puts the company that designed it up for sale

Back when Microsoft bought aQuantive in order to get its hands on Atlas and other technologies the software giant also picked up the ad agency Avenue A/Razorfish.

Avenue A | Razorfish - new officeImage by erokCom™ via Flickr

Yup; Avenue A/Razorfish was created through the merger of the ad agencies Avenue A and Razorfish. Names like that don’t to last long and rather than being called AA/R the agency was rebranded as Razorfish.

Microsoft are hoping for as much as $700m for Razorfish. The aQuantive deal was huge and set Microsoft back a staggering $6b but nevertheless, getting a full $700m back for the advertising agency bit isn’t bad.

That’s if they manage to get that much. The sale of Razorfish has been long rumoured. Back in October 08 we saw headlines like Razorfish buys Wysiwyg – WPP denies it’s buying Razorfish.

In fact, back in 2007 we saw the Tribbble Ad Agency run articles like Avenue A | Razorfish employees get screwed by Microsoft. That article had the brilliant quote from an anonymous employee.

“If they are not going to treat us like Microsoft Employees, then what’s the point of working for Microsoft”

Razorfish has huge clients. People like Kraft, Coca-Cola and Disney. People are talking up either WPP or Publicis as buyers. Heck; people are even discussing Omnicom as a potential buyer but as PepsiCo is an important client for Omnicom I suspect there may be an issue there.

My money is currently on Publicis simply because they recently announced a partnership/joint venture with Microsoft last week (which sparked thoughts of a Razorfish sale in my mind then; as I’m sure it did for other people too).

Razorfish didn’t simply design the Bing logo. It is a healthy part of the impressive advertising campaign for Microsoft’s decision engine.

I doubt the sale of Razorfish will impact Bing at all. If anything it removes conflict of interest concerns. People didn’t like Google owning the advertising agency bits of DoubleClick but I suspect too few people in the Search Industry knew to trace Razorfish back to Microsoft.

Who bought the advertising agency bits of DoubleClick from Google? It was Publicis.




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