IN FRAGMENTED MARKET, BBDO EXEC MEETS AWESOME CHALLENGE -- STEVE GRUBBS

By Published on .

Mr. awesome -- that's been Steve Grubb's playful nickname since before he was honored as a Media Maven for the first time in 1996.

Daryl Simm, who was Procter & Gamble Co.'s top media executive at the time, didn't know Mr. Grubbs back then, but he must have read the piece, because he's handed Mr. Grubbs an "awesome" task.

Mr. Grubbs, 47, is exec VP-director of national TV buying at Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York. Mr. Simm is president-CEO of Omnicom's global media operation, Optimum Media Direction.

LEVERAGING SHOP'S POWER

Mr. Simm has been trying to figure out a way to leverage the billions spent by Omnicom's shops, including BBDO, DDB Worldwide, Media, TBWA/Chiat/Day and Creative Media.

"What we've been doing, Mr. Simm told Advertising Age earlier this year, "is exploring how we can provide an evolving level of service that responds to the environment we're dealing with: the fragmentation, more data, larger and fewer media companies."

Key to Mr. Simm's plans, on the national TV side, is Mr. Grubbs. During this last TV upfront marketplace, Mr. Grubbs acted as the lead negotiator for the Omnicom agencies with the major networks. He helped set the parameters, such as general cost-per-thousands, and then left each of the Omnicom shops to do the detailed negotiations for their clients.

Mr. Grubbs' role was never publicly acknowledged by either Mr. Simm or Mr. Grubbs himself.

"Daryl, with his P&G background, is cautious by nature," says one network executive. "The way we understand it, Daryl has been evaluating how the plan worked. We hear that he was pleased and that this new role for Steve will be announced by the end of the year."

Clearly it takes special skills to act as the lead TV negotiator for all the Omnicom shops. Besides having to be a strong negotiator, the person in the position has to have good people skills, since he needs to work closely with the media executives at all the sister media shops.

SOLID STAFF

"I think Daryl is lucky there," says another one network executive. "He's got more than one top national TV person in his stable. There's Dan Rank [an AA Media Maven last year] at Optimum to name one, and he's also top flight. Not only are Steve and Dan good friends, but they have similar personalities, which include the fact they're well-liked and good with people. I guess it was a tough call, but Daryl seems to be going with Steve on this. We couldn't be happier for him."

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