Media Perspective: Vizeum embodies the newer, leaner, digital-led agencies

George Devine, the founding director of the Royal Court theatre, once reassured his star writer, the playwright John Osborne, that his latest offering was a masterpiece.

He cried: "I always say to them: 'It may take time and a lot of sweat, but when Johnny finally does bring one out, he really shits it out!'"

The same could be said of Vizeum. The Aegis-owned agency doesn't deal in half measures. On the infrequent occasions it hits the headlines, it could be said to deliver a full bowl every time.

Earlier this year, it landed the gigantic 20th Century Fox business across Europe, with the £33 million UK account a massive part of the win. Since then, Vizeum has been busy working behind the scenes, sweating away on several fronts, but rarely creating a stir in the wider world. Part of this can be put down to changes to its business - shifting its focus towards digital following the move of two-dozen staff from sister agency Diffiniti and bedding in a number of new hirings on the strategy side. But mainly, Vizeum has been defending two bits of business: Pernod Ricard and the Coca-Cola UK account, previously split with Universal McCann.

Last week, there was great news for the agency. Coca-Cola consolidated its £40 million strategic planning and buying business into Vizeum. This was a large vote of confidence in its planning product, given that it managed to see off Coke roster agency Naked Communications, plus a £20 million boost in billings from the TV buying that is moving over from Universal.

Pernod Ricard also seems to be heading Vizeum's way, with the agency in final discussions with the client, making for a dream couple of weeks for Vizeum's joint managing directors, Grant Millar and Matt Andrews.

Vizeum's recent success also appears to vindicate Aegis' wider UK media offering. Clients seem to be buying into Vizeum's clever thinking, underpinned with the buying clout of Aegis Media and, in Coke's case, a strong outdoor offering in the shape of Posterscope. And, once again, a client statement also recognises the importance of Isobar, Aegis's digital offering, with Coke saying its strengths will help it "establish a multi-faceted approach to reaching consumers".

All of this is in stark contrast to the Interpublic-owned Universal McCann, which has had a quiet year in the UK only to be shocked by another major client departure. Well outside the top ten UK agencies in 2006, this once significant media operation risks sliding into further obscurity.

But on a more positive note, Vizeum is becoming one of the better examples of the new breed of leaner, fitter, digital-led media agencies. If it can bed in its hirings, fine tune the quality of its output and continue to create the odd splash, then Andrews and Millar are on to a winner.

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