MEDIA: HEADLINER - Advertising maverick finally joins the club with MGM deal. Ted Roose speaks to Claire Cozens about his decision to split media operations

Ted Roose has never been one to follow the advertising crowd. He set up the offices of Roose & Partners, the agency he has run since 1977, on Gray’s Inn Road away from the bright lights of Soho, and he eschews traditional advertising haunts such as the Ivy or Le Caprice in favour of the Royal Yacht Club.

Ted Roose has never been one to follow the advertising crowd. He

set up the offices of Roose & Partners, the agency he has run since

1977, on Gray’s Inn Road away from the bright lights of Soho, and he

eschews traditional advertising haunts such as the Ivy or Le Caprice in

favour of the Royal Yacht Club.



Sometimes his failure to conform seems positively perverse. When just

about every other agency in town was separating out its media

operations, Roose refused to do so, sticking firmly to his view that

full-service was best and that the people running the media should be in

close contact with the creatives and account handlers.



So the question on everybody’s lips when Roose & Partners announced its

tie-up with Manning Gottlieb Media last week was not ’why has he done

it?’ so much as ’why didn’t he do it before?’.



Roose concedes that the agency was the odd one out - neither he nor I

can think of another full-service agency of any substance that is still

in existence. But he says he was not under any pressure from clients to

hive off the media operation - it was very much his own decision,

supported by the clients.



’I’ve always thought it very important that media planning should stay

with account handling - often the solution to the problem comes from

media people,’ he says. ’But there has been a huge explosion in media

opportunities. It is difficult when you’re a relatively small operation

to keep pace with all that. Now we will be able to draw on the much

wider buying footprint MGM has.’



It’s very different from when Roose began his career as a buyer in

Garland-Compton’s media department. He spent ten years there, working on

a number of blue-chip clients, including Rowntree, Procter & Gamble and

United Biscuits, before moving into account handling.



But he had always wanted to go it alone, so in 1977 he left what was

then Saatchi & Saatchi Garland-Compton with three colleagues to set up

Roose & Partners.



And now, having established his creative agency, he’s starting his own

media outfit. The new division, housed within MGM’s offices, will

initially have pounds 20 million in billings and will be called Roose

Media. Its biggest client is Mitsubishi, which Roose & Partners picked

up last July. It is also taking on Nickelodeon, the toy company Vivid

Imagination and Virgin Cars, among others.



Nick Manning, a managing partner of MGM, says the agency has been set up

to service existing clients but adds that they will also be pitching

with Roose & Partners for new business. ’We can bring a lot to their

party by way of a worldwide network of media specialists,’ he says.



Implementational planning and all buying will move to Roose Media, but

strategic planning will remain at Roose & Partners - a fact Roose is

keen to stress. He says the arrangement gives clients the best of both

worlds.



So what of the cultural fit? MGM is a young, entrepreneurial agency

handling sexy clients such as Apple and Nike while Roose & Partners has

a more old-guard feel, dominated by established, blue-chip companies

such as Nestle Rowntree and Benckiser.



But Roose insists that the contrast will be a positive thing. ’What I

like about MGM is that they’ve got lots of ideas as well as the buying

power of a big group. We may be a different kind of agency but that

doesn’t mean we don’t want to be whacky.’



Well, whacky may not be quite the Roose image just yet, but the agency

has certainly undergone something of a renaissance in recent years.



After a period of relative stagnation, in 1998 the agency won the

Caffrey’s account, giving it a coveted place on the Bass roster, and

last July it picked up the full-service account for Mitsubishi.



Roose has taken a bit of a back seat, allowing the agency’s two managing

partners, Ed Will and Angus Fear, to handle the day-to-day running of

clients’ business while he concentrates on the agency as a whole.



’My role has changed dramatically,’ Roose says. But the change appears

to have done him and the agency good.



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