From ‘Publicom’ merger failure to the Ice Bucket Challenge: 12 moments which shook global media in 2014 | M&M Global

From ‘Publicom’ merger failure to the Ice Bucket Challenge: 12 moments which shook global media in 2014

From the failed Publicis-Omnicom merger to Mark Zuckerberg pouring a bucket full of ice water over his head, M&M Global takes a look at 2014’s most headline-grabbing moments in media and marketing.

It’s been another eventful year for the media and marketing industry. Along with notable business events such as the failed Publicis-Omnicom merger, 2014 has seen us witness a Twitter frenzy over Brazil and Germany’s excruciating game during this year’s FIFA World Cup, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg pouring a bucket full of ice cold water over his head in honour of the ALS ‘Ice Bucket Challenge.’

M&M Global takes a look at 2014’s most headline-grabbing moments in media and marketing.

Satya Nadella replaces Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft

In February this year, tech giant Microsoft announced that inimitable chief executive Steve Ballmer would be replaced by the rather more understated head of cloud and enterprise, Satya Nadella. Nadella is only the third person to lead Microsoft since the company was first founded 39 years ago. According to Ballmer, part of his retirement plan included concentrating on his basketball team, the Los Angeles Clippers, which he bought for $2bn.

Facebook goes on tech spending spree with the purchase of WhatsApp, Atlas and Oculus Rift

It has certainly been a busy year for Facebook, as it looks to revolutionise its proposition beyond its core social network. At the beginning of March, it acquired Microsoft’s ad measurement platform Atlas followed by the purchase of virtual reality gaming firm Oculus VR for $2bn later that month, and then confirmed the completion of purchasing messaging app WhatsApp in October for a whopping $22bn. All eyes on what might be Zuck’s first acquisition in 2015.


GroupM wins $1bn Vodafone account

It’s been a big year for the telecommunications industry – AT&T took on Netflix with its new streaming service, Telefonica handed its $500m media planning and buying account to Havas (see below), and it’s just been revealed that BT is in talks to buy Britain’s largest mobile network EE. But the fun doesn’t stop there – back in April, GroupM’s MEC won Vodafone’s huge $1bn global media planning and buying account, beating Dentsu Aegis Network in the final stage of the process.

Publicis-Omnicom merger collapses

Looking back, it almost seems like a dream. John Wren and Maurice Levy, the CEOs of advertising giants Publicis Groupe and Omnicom, were left red-faced back in May when it emerged that their planned $35bn merger had fallen through due to financial disputes. The groups announced the proposal last year, with the aim of overtaking WPP to form the world’s largest advertising network. To top things off, Publicis unveiled last month a new four-year strategic plan to try and turn around its disappointing growth results – but more of that later.

Google launches “right to be forgotten” form

Privacy remained at the forefront of media debates in 2014. Back in May, American search giant Google – which processes over 90% of all web searches in Europe – launched a webpage that would allow European citizens to request certain links to information about them to be removed. The move followed an earlier EU court ruling affirming the “right to be forgotten”. In a somewhat satirical move, certain publishers are posting lists of their content that has been removed from search results due to the new ruling.

World Cup’s Brazil vs Germany becomes the most discussed single sports match ever on Twitter

Forget Kim Kardashian’s attempt to “break the internet” with Paper Magazine – the FIFA World Cup in Brazil had already achieved that goal. The most talked-about game during the World Cup wasn’t even the final – Brazil’s shocking 7-1 defeat by Germany in the semi-finals generated a record-breaking 35.6m tweets, making it the most-discussed sports game ever. The World Cup Final, when Germany defeated Argentina 1-0, came close with 35.1m tweets.


Yahoo acquires app analytics firm Flurry and programmatic video platform BrightRoll

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has money and she’s ready to spend, thanks to the firm’s windfall from the sale of its stake in Alibaba (see below). In July, Yahoo showed that it’s serious about growing its mobile business with the acquisition ofapp analytics firm Flurry. It followed this up with a move into the programmatic video space last month with its $640m BrightRoll acquisition. More will surely follow in 2015.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

It was the social phenomenon of the year. The ALS ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ – an activity which involves dumping a bucket of ice water over your head to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations for research – took social media by storm during July and August. Celebrities such as Cara Delevingne, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Mark Zuckerberg and Justin Bieber all took part in the challenge, helping the charity to generate over $100m in donations.


Apple announces the launch of its smart watch

Tick tock, tick tock – the moment analysts had patiently waited for finally arrived. After many rumours and much speculation, Apple announced the launch of its eagerly anticipated Apple Watch in September – its first device in four years. Following a leaked memo, it was discovered that the smartwatch will be released in Spring 2015. The battle for supremacy in wearable tech will go up another gear over the coming 12 months.

Alibaba prices shares at $68 each for record-breaking IPO

Media business of the year? Perhaps. Chinese e-commerce business Alibaba priced its shares for its initial public offering in September at $68 each. The company listed them on the New York Stock Exchange and made $22bn in just one day on Wall Street, increasing to a total $25bn, making it the largest IPO in history. Following swiftly on from that, the business reported that it had madealmost $9bn in sales on ‘Single’s Day’ in November. In founder Jack Ma, the Chinese digital industry now has a celebrity to match Zuckerberg and co.


Havas seals $600m Telefonica deal

As mentioned briefly earlier, Telefonica caused a stir with its, shall we say, unusual approach to agency relations. Only months after Telefonica, owner of the O2 mobile brand, signed a five-year agreement with Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia for the management of O2’s $300m pan-European media business, it changed its mind. The contracts were due to commence in January but, following a reported intervention by Havas majority shareowner Vincent Bolloré, Telefonica agreed a $600m global marketing partnership with Havas.


Publicis announces $3.7bn Sapient acquisition

Licking its wounds from its failed Omnicom merger, Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy has gone on an acquisition spree, led by last month’s $3.7bn swoop for US-based digital consultancy Sapient. It is a sign that the company is looking to accelerate its digital revenue growth, and fast. Last year, Sapient, which owns SapientNitro and whose clients include Fiat, Unilever and Coca-Cola, generated $1.36bn in revenues, making a profit of $85.9m.

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