MEDIA PERSPECTIVE: MediaCom TMB’s toughest task will be to create a USP

Clinging to a Euston street corner one night last week in slashing rain, hunting for an empty cab that didn’t exist, any warm feelings I’d had about the new MediaCom TMB began to ebb away.

Clinging to a Euston street corner one night last week in slashing

rain, hunting for an empty cab that didn’t exist, any warm feelings I’d

had about the new MediaCom TMB began to ebb away.



I’ve been to some pretty vile media offices in my time (MediaCom’s

Livonia Street headquarters among them) and MediaCom TMB’s new building

north of Euston is actually one of the better ones - plenty of space,

with an open, airy feel and the increasingly ubiquitous company caff.

There’s even an airport-like lounge for passing clients who need a place

to rest their laptop and well-lunched gut between meetings. And I’m sure

the area itself is not as grim in daylight.



But the bleakness of Euston is not the real challenge MediaCom TMB will

face as it prepares to unite staff from MediaCom and the Media Business

under one roof next week. A stiffer task will be to create a personality

for the new company which lives up to the spirit of the new building and

overshadows its location. Anyone familiar with MediaCom or the Media

Business will realise what a challenge that is.



The new agency announced its management line-up last week, minus two of

MediaCom’s few famous names - Bill Jones and Mark Brown. The new board

takes the best of what’s left of both companies and recognises the

strengths of the home-grown talent. And talent there surely is at both

agencies, since each has a record of producing good work. If Andy

Troullides, Steve Allan and Allan Rich are right about the new team and

company spirit, bushels will be bulldozed and lights hitherto hidden

will burn bright.



Ask, though, what the new company stands for, what proposition will set

it aside from established rivals, and I’m at a loss. For me the Media

Business had been distinguished by its record on client retention,

evidence - in the absence of too much else - that this was a very solid

operation.



The business losses of the past 12 months have eradicated this USP.

MediaCom, on the other hand, has always been an agency known for its

expertise in big fmcg business, but that’s too one-dimensional a tag for

a modern media brand.



As a merged operation, MediaCom TMB is a wisp of fog waiting to take

shape. As such, it will prove an interesting millennial case study in

whether there are any gaps left in the media market and how to fill

them.



Will the MediaCom network have the foresight to see the pounds 28

million it paid for the Media Business Group as the first instalment in

its investment in the UK office? Will Procter & Gamble, a key MediaCom

client, be happy with the departure of Bill Jones and the new agency

structure? And, as always, new business will prove key. Can the new

operation succeed in persuading VAG, which recently appointed MediaCom

in Germany, to do the same in the UK?



Have your say in Campaignlive’s forum on channel 4 at

www.campaignlive.com.



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