ZenithOptimedia sets up new division

LONDON - ZenithOptimedia is launching a new department with deputy managing director Mark Waugh at the helm to offer non-traditional media solutions, and is already discussing potential projects with clients including L'Oreal and Lexus.

Titled Newcast, the division will provide services such as branded content, sponsorship, events and experiential marketing to ZenithOptimedia UK, Zed Media and challenger brand agency Equinox.

Newcast, which supersedes the previous sponsorship division Alliance and branded content network The Village but also covers press, digital, radio and outdoor, was launched to clients and media owners last week after a year of incubation.

Waugh said client fees rather than commission would fund Newcast's work, but the agency would demonstrate return on investment on clients' work.

"ROI in this space is not something we're going to shy away from," he said. "There has been a tendency in the past to treat it as an add-on, but we will hold it accountable to the same level of rigour as we would traditional advertising."

Although ZenithOptimedia has done work in this space in the past, such as Bounty's sponsorship of Love Island and an NSPCC campaign on sexual abuse with Habbo Hotel and MyKindaPlace, Waugh said the dedicated resource of Newcast would boost the volume and the sophistication of the work.

He said Newcast aimed to have the most productive relationships with media owners and already had more than 70 ideas on the drawing board, with 20 projects approved.

The division will be integrated into the planning floor and take on the development and execution of projects dreamed up in planning sessions using ZenithOptimedia's Open framework.

The Newcast team includes 12 specialists, with Tim Brady, head of Alliance, and Ollie Harwood-Matthews, head of The Village, as joint managing partners.

Charlotte Reich, who ran the Guardian Creative Solutions Team before joining ZenithOptimedia's press unit in 2005, and Mandy Fowler, who joined the agency last year and previously ran Emap's broadcast strategy unit, are both strategic partnership directors.

The other strategic partnership directors include Hamid Habib, who has PR, digital and TV experience, Nick Leonard, who has a creative agency background, and Andy Corcoran, who helped develop Alliance.

For further analysis and comment, see this week's Media Week


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