The Interpublic Group has revealed the senior management line-up
Initiative Media, the media network it is creating out of the merger of
two of its international media brands, Western International Media and
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
’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.