Agency of the Year: Media Agency of the Year - MediaCom

Smart pitching and innovation helped to give this shining star of client satisfaction the edge over its rivals in 2004.

For the media world, 2004 had a slow start before roaring into life with the award of the year's mega-account reviews - Unilever's 1bn euro pan-European business and Nestle's $1.5bn global account. These put MindShare, which won Unilever and shared Nestle with ZenithOptimedia, on top, but MediaCom's overall performance gave it the edge to become Marketing's Media Agency of the Year.

Conflicts with existing clients precluded MediaCom from pitching for the two mega-reviews. Nevertheless, business wins totalling £194m, including £21m of direct work, demonstrate that the agency has been no slouch in picking up new business.

Twenty three clients joined MediaCom's roster in 2004, with the £71m BSkyB account, £23m T-Mobile business and Entertainment Film Distributors' £26m work filling gaps in its sector coverage. The addition of Churchill Insurance's £12m account consolidated its grip on financial services.

Picking up BSkyB, confounding all predictions, was the year's highlight. MindShare's close ties with Sky bosses seemed to make it a shoo-in, but MediaCom proved why it is the agency rivals fear most by out-gunning MindShare with a smarter pitch.

A commendable reputation for client service saw MediaCom retain its existing clients. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is one such happy customer. Its UK advertising director, Andy Bolden, says MediaCom has been instrumental in challenging the way GSK's marketing function views media. 'It is not only a quality buyer of advertising space but an integral partner in our business, and involved in every way that our consumers engage with our 31 brands,' he adds.

Horlicks was one GSK brand to be given a MediaCom overhaul in 2004. The brief was to find a new market for a brand consumed almost entirely by geriatrics. A target audience of stressed 35-plus women juggling family with careers was identified. Monday was found to be their most sleepless night, so, with a limited media budget, MediaCom hijacked Monday night TV for 13 weeks with targeted ads running through to the end-of-evening 'wind-down ritual.' In the first month of the campaign, sales increased by 28% year on year. The settle-down increase was 10% and the consumer age profile was lowered significantly.

Another challenge for MediaCom was to increase shoppers' visits to IKEA's London stores. Londoners are less likely to engage in DIY, and people for whom home decor is not a priority were targeted. MediaCom's Consumer Insight team interviewed the target group and had them assess interiors on neutral ground so they did not fear being criticised and were not influenced by their own interiors.

The interviews revealed that TV, the medium of choice for furniture advertisers, would not work with this group, as it is viewed in their homes - their comfort zone. TV was replaced with Tube and bus activity, eroding the group's inertia daily. The campaign generated a 700% sales uplift in the three London stores, with an increase in return on investment to £6 for every £1 spent - 30% higher than other stores.

Innovation through collaboration with media owners was shown by MediaCom's link-up with Clear Channel to create a street sports and music event, Download, for Snickers. It attracted 103,000 enthusiasts, and was carried through to all the brand's communications. Snickers is to repeat the event, which will fundamentally influence its European strategy next year.

Client service levels are enhanced by the ability of the agency to retain its staff, epitomised by chief executive Stephen Allan and deputy managing directors Nick Lawson and Jane Ratcliffe, who possess 50 years of combined service to the agency.

Client service was widened in 2004 with RWC Plus, extending its Real World Communications integrated communications planning service, which delivers joined-up thinking on strategic client issues. RWC Plus provides the service to other agencies such as Karmarama, which can offer it as an own-branded solution.

With clients in most sectors, MediaCom's future lies in organic growth and converting UK clients into global ones. Part of WPP, following the acquisition of its parent, Grey, it will also contribute further to WPP's Group M power-buying offer, joining MindShare and Mediaedge:cia.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2003: MindShare

2002: Naked

2001: MediaCom

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer