MEDIA: PERSPECTIVE - MediaCom TMB is star of ’99 but who will take its place?

Another year over, a new millennium just begun and time for Campaign’s media agency of the year award. Not much of a lip-chewing contest, though, this one. In fact, the list of contenders was as long as Steve Allan’s haircut. Few, I think, will be surprised about the choice of MediaCom TMB as media agency of the year, particularly those who have experienced similar mergers and know first hand the distractions, politics and logistics involved - all of which MediaCom TMB seems to have successfully overcome.

Another year over, a new millennium just begun and time for

Campaign’s media agency of the year award. Not much of a lip-chewing

contest, though, this one. In fact, the list of contenders was as long

as Steve Allan’s haircut. Few, I think, will be surprised about the

choice of MediaCom TMB as media agency of the year, particularly those

who have experienced similar mergers and know first hand the

distractions, politics and logistics involved - all of which MediaCom

TMB seems to have successfully overcome.



Even rival agencies which did their darndest to nudge our decision their

way volunteered MediaCom TMB as a worthy candidate - for its

new-business record as well as for the grace with which it stepped up to

take top-five agency status. The agency still lacks some of the sparkle

of a confident, polished media operation, but its sterling first-year

performance is a solid foundation.



Taking a retrospective of the 90s, the media industry was in such an

evolutionary phase, with many of the top agencies not even conceived at

the outset, that it is impossible to nominate a single company which

dominated the decade. But before the 90s become a dim memory, here are a

few tributes to some media agencies which changed the face of the

business.



Zenith Media must, of course, take credit for getting the business

motoring at the beginning of the 90s, finally throwing a spotlight on

media as an industry and managing to reinvent itself as the decade drew

to a close.



Carat, BMP OMD and the old Media Centre (now MediaVest) also set the

agenda for the bigger agencies, consistently matching size with real

quality.



The launch of Michaelides & Bednash in 1994 marked a sea change in the

emphasis placed on strategic planning (a function still awaiting real

definition), raising the game and helping agencies find new ways of

charging more for their work.



Also sparkling in the creative and strategic arena, Motive and Manning

Gottlieb Media proved that clever thinking was not the exclusive domain

of the strategic specialist, while PHD and then New PHD stood out as one

of the smartest operations of the late 90s - a truly rounded business

which has never stood still, always strived for excellence, and often

attained it.



Predictions are always tricky, but even if you’ve managed to get this

far down my column, you probably won’t remember it in ten years’ time,

so what the hell.



Star performers for the years ahead: the new Starcom Motive Partnership

will be an agency to watch as it seeks to pool nimble creative media

solutions with a multinational client base. MindShare should begin to

fly with its full-service communications proposition after a faltering

start. Western will emerge as IPG’s UK media hotshop.



Oh, and CIA Medianetwork will make a comeback and take the top five by

storm. Well, anything’s possible in the new millennium.





claire.beale@haynet.com



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