Media: Double Standards - Learning to swallow and learning how to lose

The heads of two European media networks air their thoughts on the hardest part of their jobs, the best bits about their networks and resisting pressures on margins.

COLIN GOTTLIEB - Chief executive, OMD Europe

What's the single hardest When I took the job in 2001, the

thing you've had to do in objective was to quickly turn the OMD

your current job? European family into a single,

effective network. Today our armoury

is considerable but back then we

needed to improve leadership in some

of the markets. Letting people go is

never a pleasurable experience.

What are you doing to resist We've been able to have sensible

the downward pressures on conversations with both procurement

margins in some markets? and marketing personnel. The

discussions are always tough but if

you have prepared a clear and robust

justification of your product, your

deliverables and your costs, the

outcome is usually fair.

What's the best piece of work I will receive heated phonecalls from

produced by one of your my colleagues around Europe asking

agencies in the past year? why their work wasn't mentioned. But

I've chosen OMD Latvia for its work

for the insurance company IF, which

involved dropping wallets full of

fake money in the centre of Riga.

Is client conflict becoming Yes and no. Yes, clients are becoming

less of an issue for you? more willing to discuss the issue of

confidentiality and how we are

structured to handle competitive


The dynamics of the market have

resulted in clients wishing to look

for solutions where in the past they

didn't have to. It is still a highly

emotive subject and each case is


Why is your network better We are a very young worldwide network

than the others? and have achieved success in a short

time. The OMD brand is now firmly

recognised and we have a wonderful

portfolio of clients and work. We

strongly encourage creative flair and

deliver what we say we'll deliver.

Our geographical reach takes some

beating and we have impressive

products and applications. We are

competitive but there is real warmth

throughout the network - a real sense

of one team.

What do you most dislike about I hate losing anything - pitches,

your job? existing business, our best people or

great candidates for new positions. I

thought it would get easier as I got

older. It gets worse. But the thing I

most dislike has to be the last

flight to London from anywhere in

northern Europe, during winter, on a

Friday night when the plane is full

and the flight badly delayed.

Which are your three most Are you kidding?

important markets and which

are your three most

troublesome markets?

Describe your media network's The management of OMD is entirely

relationship with its sister separate from the agencies but we're

advertising agencies. proud of our creative heritage. We

get to work with three of the world's

most creative agencies - BBDO, DDB

and TBWA, not to mention the enormous

creative talent within Omnicom's DAS

companies. You can assume our

relationship is culturally very


What's the biggest challenge Technology has put media networks in

facing media networks over the the driving seat. It has already

next five years? affected the behaviour of consumers

and the structure of markets. Media

vendors and clients are trying to

keep pace with change. We are too,

but media networks are in a unique

position to link clients, their

brands, consumers and the media.

MARK CRANMER - Chief executive, Starcom MediaVest EMEA

What's the single hardest Swallow. International management

thing you've had to do in your demands it.

current job?

What are you doing to resist Identify what it is that clients

the downward pressures on really value, cut out the crap, then

margins in some markets? exceed their value expectations.

What's the best piece of work The Cannes gold for P&G Bonux from the

produced by one of your Lebanon was the best from my region. A

agencies in the past year? stunning example of media behaviour

creating an emotional social currency

out of a household function. I've

recently seen powerful work from

Italy, Norway and Poland - each

addresses different aspects of

clients' business and all excite me


Is client conflict becoming In a consolidating industry the

less of an issue for you? disciplines of professional

confidentiality are more important

than ever and I've never worked in an

agency where people break that code of


Why is your network better I think there are a number of strong

than the others? global networks emerging out of this

period of evolution. One is

represented in the adjacent column and

I think I'm lucky enough to work at

one, too. Starcom will continue to

thrive because it is genuinely

committed to an operating culture that

believes individuals' passion and

ability are more powerful than

prescriptive systems, processes and


What do you most dislike about My inability to get as many things

your job? done as I would like.

Which are your three most Most important are those I feel are

important markets and which furthest away from the product I

are your three most believe we should be creating. Most

troublesome markets? troublesome are actually the most

enjoyable because they keep pushing me

to add some value to them and thereby

justify my role.

Describe your media network's Familial.

relationship with its sister

advertising agencies.

What's the biggest challenge To create a coherent and compelling

facing media networks over the value proposition that goes beyond

next five years? Byzantine media-pricing-spreadsheet-



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