JOE BIHLMIER PLAYS ODDS FOR ANDERSEN

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Joe Bihlmier wanted his sole media planning client, New York-based Andersen Consulting, to think big.

Advertising in business magazines that attract the executives Andersen covets wasn't enough. After all, the tech consulting company was looking to carve out a global brand name for itself.

Mr. Bihlmier, 30, wanted a venue where Andersen could make a splash while imprinting its logo on the minds of an international corporate audience. He found it in an 80-by-12-foot wall in a business traveler-only walking lane in London's Heathrow Airport. Today, Andersen has plastered that wall with giant corporate insignias.

Mr. Bihlmier, who in September was promoted from associate planning dir-ector to VP-planning director at Young & Rubicam's Mediaedge, credits his media planning acumen, in part, to growing up working at his parents' ice cream parlor on Long Beach Island, a beach resort community off the coast of New Jersey. "You live and die when it's a family business," he says. "You can't call in sick."

The experience, he says, makes him aware of the high stakes Andersen faces when it plunks down money for him to spend on ad placements.

Mr. Bihlmier, who now lives in Manhattan, was drawn to media planning while attending advertising industry meetings in Atlanta during his college years. He graduated in 1991 from Berry College, Rome, Ga., with a dual degree in business and communications.

Mr. Bihlmier's first job was as an assistant media planner at New York ad agency Laurence Charles Free & Lawson, which has since been merged into Gotham Images, New York. Soon after, he transferred to McCann-Erickson Worldwide, which, along with Laurence Charles Free & Lawson and Gotham, is a subsidiary of The Interpublic Group of Cos., New York.

He spent the bulk of his time at McCann working on media planning for East Coast franchises of Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's Corp.

In 1993, Mr. Bihlmier joined Young & Rubicam, where he has had a string of media planning jobs. But the McDonald's account, in particular, gave him a broad media exposure that prepared him for selectively targeting outlets for Andersen Consulting, he says.

Still, the challenges in planning media for a consulting firm are greater than in the fast-food restaurant field, he says.

The reams of consumer research feedback that aided his ad buying efforts for the Golden Arches are not to be found while working on the Andersen account. With Andersen, "you don't have the [consumer data] knowledge. The audience is a much smaller universe," Mr. Bihlmier says. "Senior executives don't fill out

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