BMP DDP is busy changing its media label rather than its brand. By
Alasdair Reid says investigates.
The BMP DDB media department succeeded for years in maintaining a
classic ’best of both worlds’ balancing act. If you wanted, it could be
the full-service agency media department - one of the last in town -
able to spout all the touchy-feely stuff about the sacrosanct status of
planning and the importance of sitting within spitting distance of the
people with funny haircuts in the creative department.
On the other hand, when media-only business was up for grabs, it gave
more than a passing impression of being a dyed-in-the-wool media
It topped Campaign’s media-only new-business league table last year,
with pounds 50 million in wins, including Vodafone and HMV. It has also
won its fair share of centralisations, such as British Gas and
Wasn’t it Chris Powell, BMP DDB’s chief executive, who once described
his agency as a ’media specialist with a nice little creat-ive
department tacked on to the side’? That’s more accurate than ever.
Or it will be when BMP Optimum launches on 7 April, headed by Paul
Taylor and Derek Morris (Campaign, last week).
So why change anything at all? Morris, the joint media director of BMP
Optimum, says that it is a re-labelling rather than a rebranding. ’In
the past, media departments set themselves up as so-called dependants
usually for one of two reasons - they wanted to distance themselves from
an ailing agency or they felt they had to relaunch a media product that
wasn’t working. We clearly haven’t needed to do that - 60 per cent of
our business is on direct contract with the client, not passed through
to us from the the agency,’ he states.
The decision was perhaps influenced by the department’s United Biscuits
experience a couple of years ago. BMP won the media centralisation
pitch, only to be told that it wasn’t going to get the business. The
media department didn’t work for Walkers but the main agency clearly did
and its award-winning work - a thorn in the side of UB’s parent, KP -
was plastered all over the reception area. The UB people said they
weren’t going to sit in front of those Walkers ads, so the business went
Morris concedes that conflicts will be easier to handle in the future,
but says that the main point is to ’clarify what we are’.
Maybe so, but is this initiative a bit off the pace? Will there be
problems in coming relatively late to the market? Morris says not - and
other late developers agree. ’BMP Optimum will have no problems in the
transition,’ Mark Cranmer, the managing director of Motive, predicts
’This is further recognition that media is no longer a mechanical
service but about providing strategic differentiation and real
Mike Smallwood, the chief executive of the newly launched Western
International Media, agrees: ’BMP has always done a good job of planning
If it gets the structure right, there is no reason it can’t continue to
Cranmer and Smallwood elected to drop all reference to their agency
heritage - Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Lowe Howard-Spink respectively -
from their newly branded operations.
Optimum is the branding for DDB’s media operations across Europe. Is
this all about the internal politics of Omnicom, BMP DDB’s parent
Is BMP saying: ’We’ll acknowledge the DDB network but will never be
submerged by it’?
No, this is nothing to do with corporate mind games, counters Morris -
though heritage is important.
’Having the initials BMP in our name lets everyone know that you will
get something from us that you won’t get by going to Zenith or TMD. The
surname may be Optimum but the Christian name is still BMP.’