If Iran Sanctions Lift, Will Ad Companies Rush In?

New York, 21 July 2015 (source and credits: Adweek, Noreen O’Leary)

Sir Martin Sorrell, the WPP chief, has called Iran the last great, untapped market for growing his business. With a potential nuclear deal set to end some embargoes and perhaps begin integrating the Middle East power in the global marketplace, are big industry holding companies plotting moves into the country?

In fact, one is already there. Dentsu Aegis, the London-based, Japanese-owned holding company, entered the Iran market early this year in partnership with International Communications Agency. The relationship was formalized in May, creating Carat-ICA. Based in Tehran, the office has 35 media, creative and digital staffers handling media planning and buying for clients like Reebok, Dr. Wolff, Native Union and Telda.

Dentsu Aegis execs declined to discuss their move into the country with Adweek. But in May Michael Nederlof, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network for the Middle East, North Africa issued a statement: "We have been doing business with ICA under the parameters of the pre-existing sanctions and regulations.... The newly formed Carat-ICA partnership has the on-the-ground capabilities and a Generation Y team of digital and media experts."

Also, French network Havas Worldwide manages client campaigns in Iran out of the agency's Dubai offices. The agency declined to discuss its decision to work in the market. [read more from this article on]