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DDB, BBDO TO COMBINE EUROPEAN MEDIA GROUPS;NEEDHAM UNIT IN U.S. UNVEILS NEW NAME, TV TOOLS

By Published on .

Omnicom Group's DDB Needham Worldwide and BBDO Worldwide are expected to disclose this week that they're combining their European media operations under the banner of Optimum Media Direction.

The new unit is the first concrete sign that Omnicom will eventually pull out of the Media Partnership, a joint venture with WPP Group, parent of J. Walter Thompson Co. and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.

CONTINUING RELATIONSHIP

In some countries, however, that relationship will likely continue.

"Volume demands are such that to stay competitive in some countries, both Omnicom and WPP need the partnership," said one executive close to the situation.

Omnicom didn't return phone calls for comment.

Although Optimum Media Direction will be the umbrella organization, DDB Needham's current Optimum Media and BBDO's current Media Direction will operate separately in some countries.

At least one media executive at an Omnicom agency in the U.S. said no such media alignment is expected domestically, but DDB Needham last week branded its U.S. media operation as Optimum Media.

NOT THE FIRST

"We're clearly not the first agency" to brand its media department, said John Bradstock, president of DDB Needham U.S. and Canada, who has worked on the move for more than two years.

But DDB Needham thinks it has an innovative application, OnCore, that makes Optimum stand out.

The basic concept behind OnCore is that those viewers who are most loyal to a TV show-its

in the meantime launching a major ad blitz to counter the unions' campaign.

"The big labor bosses in Washington are spending big money spreading big lies to buy their control of Congress," says one TV spot airing in a major buy from Sipple Communications, Washington.

WORRIED ABOUT CONGRESS

Republicans claim the heavier advertising isn't so much due to Mr. Dole's poor showing in the polls but rather concern about who will win Congress.

The union advertising "is not generic advertising," said Haley Barbour, Republican National Committee chairman. "They attack the Republican candidate by name. If we were 40 points ahead, we would still be doing this."

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