Western International Media has become the first media agency to
strike an alliance with the new-media planning and buying specialist,
The deal allows Western to use i-level for implementational planning and
buying on the internet across its entire client range. Mike Tunnicliffe,
the Western managing director, said he expected to put about pounds 2
million of business into i-level this year.
Western’s clients include Tesco, which announced plans for a national
roll-out of its internet-based home shopping service, Tesco Direct,
earlier this month, and the Financial Times, which has been running a
major campaign for its ft.com website through Western.
The agency also looks after media planning and buying for Vauxhall, but
online work is currently handled by BMP interAction.
i-level was launched last week with claimed billings of pounds 4 million
(Campaign, 23 April). It is the brainchild of Charlie Dobres, the former
Lowe Direct managing director; Andrew Walmsley, the former Bartle Bogle
Hegarty head of digital media; and Craig Wilkie, the co-founder of the
Guardian New Media Lab. It is seeking to partner traditional media
agencies as well as working directly with clients.
Tunnicliffe said that working with i-level would allow Western to
concentrate on providing clients with strategic advice in the new-media
area. ’We had been going through the debate internally about whether to
get more planning and buying resource in,’ he said. ’Then the guys came
in with this.’
Dobres said i-level, which counts EasyJet and Yell among its founding
clients and claims a 10 per cent market share, would seek only to work
with companies that are serious about the web.
’We want to work with partners who understand the opportunities that
online advertising can offer,’ he commented. ’I don’t think ours will be
the longest client list in the world.’
Media Forum, p16.