Anthony J. Pennings, PhD


The Meaning Makers: Omnicom

Posted on | June 12, 2010 | No Comments

Who produces the meaning in our media-saturated society? I don’t have an easy answer to this question but I’m starting a new series called the Meaning Makers, that explores the companies, people and practices engaged in the production of our culture(s), desires, and mentalities.

Meaning-making through advertising and public relations has traditionally has been dominated by several major holding companies that each in turn owns a large number of individual of advertising, design, public relations and media companies. These include the Omnicom Group and Interpublic both headquartered in New York as well as WPP in London and Publicis of Paris. To start off this series, I’m going to first talk about Omnicom.

The Omnicom Group consists of three major advertising “brands”, BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide, and TBWA\Worldwide; three major public relations firms, Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, and Porter Novelli. Marketing services are coordinated through Diversified Agency Services (DAS), a division of Omnicom Group Inc with more than 190 companies operating internationally and locally. This includes customer relationship management (CRM) and B2B advertising services, public relations, as well as specialty communications operating fields such as financial, healthcare, recruitment, multicultural marketing. The Omnicom Group also includes media services companies such as OMD, PHD, and Prometheus. Specialized services include Icon International, a leading asset barter company, Novus, OMG Outdoor Media Group, and Resolution Media.

Omnicon is involved in PR for nations, such as Ketchum’s work with Russia to develop briefing points for interviews; press releases, fact sheets, etc. Omnicom companies also promote their oil companies and facilitate meetings between representatives of Russia’s government officials and international “experts’ who are often interviewed in the media. Of particular interest has been to guide their acceptance into the WTO.




Anthony J. Pennings, PhD recently joined the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University in Austin TX, after ten years on the faculty of New York University.


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    Professor and Associate Chair at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea. Recently taught at Hannam University in Daejeon, South Korea. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, media economics, and strategic communications.

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