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At the industry's biggest annual conference in Cannes this week the main topic of conversation among the 13,000 delegates is the 18 companies – from consumer products giants Proctor & Gamble and Unilever to automakers like BMW and Volkswagen – that have decided to rethink which agencies they want for marketing advice.The reviews are an unnerving prospect for top agencies WPP, Omnicom and Publicis that are already under pressure from their customers to create innovative campaigns across websites, apps and social media instead of traditional text and TV – and on a far smaller budget in a post-financial crisis world. Morgan Stanley estimates that if advertisers' pressure on agency fees drives prices down by 15 percent or more, companies like leader WPP or No. 2 Omnicom could see earnings per share drop by about 10 percent.Challengers to the top three like Havas have the most to gain, but few expect new players outside the top six agencies to capture elite contracts from the world's top brands.With Internet advertising expected to overtake TV in 12 key countries including China and Germany and represent 28 percent of global ad spending by 2017 – according to research by media-buying firm ZenithOptimedia – the pressure is on agencies to adapt.
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