Between the Lines: Kantar Inside causes nerves

When WPP merged the media departments of Ogilvy & Mather and the then J. Walter Thompson into MindShare back in 1997, there were two elements of the nascent media operation that particularly worried its rival networks.

First, there was concern about its positioning, based around its House of Media proposition, the beauty of which lay in its simplicity and adaptability.

While justifiable, their nervousness was premature - only relatively recently has the potency of the House of Media become evident. Of more concern was that MindShare's creation could be a precursor to WPP forging closer links between its new-media network and its massive research and insight business, now called Kantar. For the first eight years, MindShare ploughed its own furrow. But the recent successes on the pan-European Unilever and Nestle pitches, achieved in tandem, have convinced MindShare to change its isolationist policy, leading to the unveiling of Kantar Inside (page 5).

This operation attempts to integrate Kantar's insight into consumer behaviour with MindShare's knowledge of the communications market. Judging by recent history, it is a compelling proposition for clients, as well as being a useful tool for WPP to cross-promote its services. Now is the time for MindShare's rivals to get really worried.