ADVERTISING & PROMOTION: Agency of the week: MEDIAPOLIS

Eight weeks into Mediapolis, the merged Young & Rubicam and Mediastar media agency, chief executive Bob Offen still has not felt the need to bring out his ‘swear box’. It remains a threat, however. If anybody is heard muttering that ‘that’s not how we did it at Y&R/Mediastar’, they are liable to be fined on the spot.

Eight weeks into Mediapolis, the merged Young & Rubicam and Mediastar

media agency, chief executive Bob Offen still has not felt the need to

bring out his ‘swear box’. It remains a threat, however. If anybody is

heard muttering that ‘that’s not how we did it at Y&R/Mediastar’, they

are liable to be fined on the spot.



In truth, you’d be less likely to hear the Y&R option, simply

because out of the 65 staff only 17 came across from Greater London

House. Mediastar, the Euro RSCG media dependant, was much the dominant

partner in the merger (all three Mediapolis brands in this week’s

Adwatch are old Mediastar clients) and, despite rumblings from a few

senior (and now departed) Y&R people, Offen insists that nothing

sinister lurks behind Mediastar’s dominance.



‘Mediapolis, which started in Paris in 1988, has offices in all major

European markets and in some of those offices Y&R dominated the merger.

Here it happened to be Mediastar.’



He is, characteristically, being modest. After leaving the Colman RSCG

media department in 1989 to set up Mediastar, Offen built up an

impressive media operation whose finest hour was last year’s Microsoft

deal in which The Times was sponsored for a day and given away free. The

deal made news around the world.



Ultimately, he knew Mediastar would be hampered by lack of serious

resource and privately gave the company until 1998 before it became a

minor player.



The Mediapolis operation will enable him to invest in the research and

the people essential to an ambitious media agency.



Its pounds 250m UK-billings (all of Mediastar and all of Y&R’s media

billings, except strategic planning and the negotiation for WCRS’s TV-

buying) put it among the top six UK buying points.



Although Mediapolis has been pitching for business as a merged operation

for about a year, the physical union has taken many months, due to

delays in finding suitable office space Now, working from plush new

offices in Holborn, the gloves are off and Mediapolis - literally ‘the

city of media’ - is ready to climb into the ring.



Bob Offen knows it will be a tough fight. Next year’s ambition is to

grow and to fill some of the gaps on the client list.



With experience in beer, retail and food, Offen’s chaps are on the

offensive. And the man at the top hopes he will not need to dust off his

swear box.



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Mediapolis

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Projected billings (1996) pounds 250m UK, pounds 100m international

Wins (since September 1996)  Iomega, United Airlines

Losses  (since September 1996) None.

Key clients Peugeot, Citroen,

Colgate Palmolive, UIP, Intel, Ericsson, Dairy Crest, Microsoft,

Scottish Widows

Key people Bob Offen (CEO), June Stevens (managing partner), Russell

Boyman (managing partner broadcast), Phil Danter (managing partner

strategy)

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