Consumer advertising sees the value of Co-opetition

Welcome to the club.

A blend of cooperation and competition and cooperation is nothing new around here in Washington. Defense and other government contractors have been teaming for years. When you’re building complex systems, it’s been well acknowledged that teams are the way to go. No one company has all the answers. Similarly TMP Government has been part of multi-disciplinary teams for such citizen-centric, cloud-based and advanced websites as and It’s common for us to work shoulder to shoulder with other DC agencies on smaller projects, too.

In fact, Harvard’s Adam N, Brandenburger and Yale’s Barry J. Nalebuff laid out the theoretical basis of this “game theory strategy” back in 1997 in their best-selling  book Co-opetition.

But when General Motors recently ended its review for Chevrolet by creating a 50-50 joint venture with two major consumer ad agencies, that’s news. The Commonwealth Venture marks ” the first time that two large marketing communications holding companies have come together to form a single company.” Detroit-based Commonwealth is a first-of-its-kind 50-50 joint venture, combining San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, an Omnicom Group company, and New York-based McCann Erickson Worldwide, an Interpublic Group company.

Pictured below (left to right) are the four creative leaders, Washington Olivetto, Jeff Goodby, Prasoon Joshi and Linus Karlsson, who will work in collaboration on all major Chevrolet creative initiatives and resource allocations. In Advertising Age, Goodby has laid out how and why it will work.

What we’ve found is that co-opetition is a great adventure of discovery, inviting both compromise and learning. It is a process that can change anyone open to it in a profound way. Done rightly this interdependence can ultimately benefit the customer far more than those competitive endeavors that can entail wasteful, non-value-creating reactions. It can also lead to “trade-ons” (versus “trade-offs), where you get higher quality and lower cost at the same time. That’s why Brandenburger and Nalebuff call it a “game changer.”

So, gentlemen, start your engines!

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Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

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