IPG reveals plan for media brand

The Interpublic Group has revealed the senior management line-up for Western:

The Interpublic Group has revealed the senior management line-up

for Western:

Initiative Media, the media network it is creating out of the merger of

two of its international media brands, Western International Media and

Initiative Media.

The new company, which will be wholly owned by IPG and claims billings

of more than dollars 10 billion, will be headed by Larry Lamattina, the

president of Interpublic’s Allied Communications Group. Marie-Jose

Forissier, the chairman of Initiative Media Worldwide, and Michael

Kassan, the president of Western International Media Inc, will be

vice-chairmen of the new company.

By bringing together the dollars 5 billion billings which Western claims

- primarily from its US base where it is the largest of the media

specialists - and the dollars 5 billion Initiative claims for its

international network, the merger will make WIM the biggest player in

the international media market.

The new operation will have 75 offices in 35 countries and plans to

offer advertisers ’a co-ordinated media product in all major advertising

markets and uniform excellence at a local level’.

However, the intention is to maintain and expand dual branding in larger

markets where there is enough business to support two offices, such as

in the UK, France and Spain. But the merger will mean behind-the-scenes

unity and a coherent strategy.

In the UK, the conflict between Western’s key client, Vauxhall, and

Initiative’s Peugeot-Citroen business will preclude any merger. But the

agencies will share common research and other backroom resources. It is

also probable that they will combine TV negotiations.

Forissier added that because Western and Initiative were complementary

on a geographical basis, a merger would not involve many of the usual

political conflicts.

’We’re not in competition in terms of systems around the world and we

don’t have the problem of different egos and visions in the same

markets,’ she said. ’The more you can combine volume and back-office

functions, the more you can use your money to take your service

upstream,’ Forissier added.

However, it is still unclear whether Ammirati Puris Lintas, Initiative’s

sister creative agency, will allow its US buying and UK planning

resource to be incorporated into the new company.


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