Starcom IP launches into Europe

Leo Burnett is launching its digital media planning and buying operation, Starcom IP, in Europe, just two weeks after the main Starcom brand was introduced here.

Leo Burnett is launching its digital media planning and buying

operation, Starcom IP, in Europe, just two weeks after the main Starcom

brand was introduced here.



The separate brand will have its European headquarters at Leo Burnett

and Starcom’s offices in Sloane Street, London, and will be headed by

Burnett’s digital communications director, Bant Breen.



Breen has already hired the planner/buyer, Antonio Silano, from Saatchi

& Saatchi Vision and claims to be working on a number of projects with

existing Leo Burnett clients, as well as talking to prospective

clients.



Starcom IP will sit alongside Burnett’s creative new-media affiliates in

different countries, including Hard Reality in the UK, servicing their

clients where called upon.



It will tap into the systems and resources of both the mainstream

Starcom operation and of Starcom IP in the US, with Breen reporting to

the Chicago-based president of the unit, Rishad Tobaccowala.



According to Breen, the operation will also seek to leverage its US

parent’s relationships with global media owners, such as Disney and

Yahoo!, to strike global online media deals. ’The internet is the only

media area where global deals are feasible now,’ Breen said. ’Other

media are still too localised.’



Tobaccowala launched Starcom IP in the US on 1 January this year and

already has claimed billings of dollars 20 million from seven clients.

Starcom IP is not run as a separate profit-and-loss centre within

Burnett, Tobaccowala explained. ’This way, Starcom directors can put

money online without it hurting them and I can say online media’s not

right for certain clients.’



He said the separate brand was necessary for the moment ’to attract

certain skill sets that Starcom may not initially have’. He admitted,

however, that it was likely to be a temporary division.



Tobaccowala reports to Jack Klues, Starcom’s worldwide chief executive,

and Bob Brennan, the chief operating officer - the same status accorded

to the network’s regional directors.



Nick Brien, the Leo Burnett chief executive in London, stressed that the

initiative was only part of the game plan. He said: ’The focus on

Starcom IP does not take away from developing digital capabilities

within the main agency. That is the priority.’



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