MEDIA PERSPECTIVE: MediaVest left out in cold as Starcom plumps for Motive

Fans of my column and those who find that it whiles away a few minutes on the loo may remember that I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how Starcom and MediaVest really should consider a UK merger now that their parent companies are wedded under the BDM banner; the new media agency would immediately race to the top end of the league table and give everyone else something to chew their nails over.

Fans of my column and those who find that it whiles away a few

minutes on the loo may remember that I wrote a couple of weeks ago about

how Starcom and MediaVest really should consider a UK merger now that

their parent companies are wedded under the BDM banner; the new media

agency would immediately race to the top end of the league table and

give everyone else something to chew their nails over.



Well what do I know? Starcom obviously completely disagrees and has

plumped instead for a merger with its step-sister, Motive. The two have

already got cosy, divvied up the management roles between them and are

well on the road to deciding who gets the biggest offices.



The thinking behind the deal is based on strategic fit and goes

something like this: Motive has carved an enviable reputation as the

thinking clients’ media operation, with a proposition based on

cutting-edge planning and across-the-board creativity. (Completely

stealing the show at this year’s Campaign Media Awards would suggest

they’re walking the walk, too.)



Starcom, admittedly barely out of the birth canal, has similar

aspirations, founded on a close association with the creative process

and bloody good credentials behind the brand name in the US.



Put the two together and you’ve got a top five media agency with some

pretty juicy accounts (Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, Levi’s) and some

fine talent.



You’ve got to hand it to Mark Cranmer, who must have been grinding away

behind the scenes to breathe life into the merger. After all, don’t

forget that Motive and Leo Burnett’s media were meant to merge 18 months

ago but, by all accounts, the two didn’t quite hit it off. To go from

this to happy partnership will have required some bridge-building and a

willingness to focus on business benefits rather than personal

preferences.



But I must admit to some sympathy for MediaVest, for which this is

probably the worst of all scenarios. MediaVest spent most of last year

trying to forge a deal with Burnett’s media but saw its efforts crumble

at the eleventh hour when the duo’s parents failed to make it happen in

the US.



It must be particularly galling when MediaVest has been driving for a

stronger global network, only to see it finally take shape under a brand

name of which it will have no part (and which makes something of a

mockery of the MediaVest Worldwide name which it so optimistically

adopted last year).



In the week that Carlton and United News & Media merged to create a new

media-owner titan, it still seems to me like a wasted opportunity to

eschew the creation of a new media communications giant to match such

might.



And I’ll be sorry to see the demise of the Motive name, which remains

one of the few media brands to have real class. The new Starcom, though,

will undoubtedly be the agency to watch next year.





claire.beale@haynet.com



Have your say at www.campaignlive.com on channel 4.



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