BPN, the new spinoff media agency at Interpublic Group of Cos' has officially launched, naming Mauricio Sabogal its global CEO and Liz Ross as its North American CEO, effective in September.
The agency, which will be housed under Interpublic's Mediabrands arm, will handle media-buying and -planning duties. Several clients are moving into the shop from sister agencies Universal McCann and Initiative , including Subaru, Applebee's, Six Flags, Ethan Allen, New York Stock Exchange and Eggland's Best. That means that at launch, global billings of BPN will be around $800 million.
Since talk of the new shop began this past May, there have been some organizational changes.
Mediabrands' barter group Orion Holdings had originally aided in the incubation of the BPN brand, but now the agency is moving out from under the supervision of Orion global CEO Brian McMahon. The firm will sit at the same level as IPG Mediabrands' UM and Initiative , and much of its focus will revolve around social media and shopper marketing.
"We wanted to make sure all operating units have individual personalities and a unique offer. The world doesn't need just another conflict shop; it needs different points of view," Mediabrands CEO Matt Seiler told Ad Age . "We watched other holding companies make mistakes there, where they've funneled [business] into one network at the sacrifice of another, or created a built-in anemia for a network by not supporting it."
Mr. Seiler explained that the shopper overlay is in line with the company's move toward pay-for-performance compensation, which necessitates that agencies better connect their media efforts to key performance indicators such as sales or shopper decisions. "The beautiful thing about where data collection and analysis has gotten us, through digital, is we can see and inform more of those [consumer] decisions at the closest point to them being made as possible," he said. "When we first concepted BPN, [we said] it would not be expressly for retail-based clients but rather it has a retailer's eye and point of view."
Ms. Ross was most recently CEO of Mediabrands' Geomentum. Just prior to that she had been named North American CEO of Mediabrands Ventures, which housed Velociter, IPG Lab's Retail Experience Center, Reprise Media and Geomentum, as well as the shopper sciences unit. In her new role, she will report to Mr. Sabogal. Prior to joining IPG in 2011, she served as chief growth officer at Publicis Groupe 's Digitas, and before that spent time at Omnicom Groupe's Tribal DDB.
Mr. Sabogal most recently served as president of world markets at Mediabrands. He has also held senior-level roles at Initiative , Omnicom Media Group and WPP's Mindshare.
The company also appointed Jose Antonio Espinoza, most recently director of marketing for Fisher-Price brands in Latin America, as president, international, BPN. UM exec-VP and managing director Donald Morrison has also moved over to BPN as COO in the U.S. The move ensures a smooth transition for a number of clients he oversaw at UM.
Mr. Seiler said he expects the firm to grow to be at least as large, if not larger, than Initiative and UM.
Globally, the new brand creates an umbrella for a group of regional media agencies, dubbed Brand Connections, that hadn't existed as part of UM or Initiative . With the immersion of Mediabrands' World Markets into BPN, the new agency network will have full operations in 20 countries, including the U.S., Belgium, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Denmark, Sweden, Chili, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, India, Australia, South Africa and several Middle Eastern countries.
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