MEDIA EDGE ADAPTS TO SUCCEED IN A CONSTANTLY CHANGING INDUSTRY: BOB IGIEL

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Even if the medium is not the message, it does count for Bob Igiel.

Mr. Igiel, exec VP-U.S. director of broadcast and programming for Media Edge, New York, is applying the lessons he learned as his career crisscrossed from TV programming to media buying by helping create integrated multimedia deals for his clients.

Mr. Igiel is a three-time Media Maven honoree. He was lauded in 1995 for his TV work, in 1996 for his radio work and this time for putting it all together.

Media Edge was on the cutting edge this summer when it brokered a four-year, multimedia deal between client AT&T Corp. and Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN and ABC Sports. The deal, worth an estimated $20 million to $30 million annually, cuts across 15 properties of ESPN and ABC, including programming lynchpins "ABC Monday Night Football," ESPN magazine and sponsorship of college football's Rose Bowl.

As part of the deal, Media Edge also set up a separate unit, AT&T Edge, to serve the telecommunications company.

"AT&T is a perfect example of where media [buying] is going," says Mr. Igiel. The deal "includes sponsorships, as well as business building opportunities that are very important today . . . those involve parts of the communications spectrum that we need for our clients."

This may be the first of more deals of this sort, as media departments have to cope with the growth and increased fragmentation of media, notes Mr. Igiel.

"We have to solve our clients business problems . . . and in helping their businesses grow, we have to use whatever communications tools are available to us," he says. "As the media consumption changes, we have to follow the media consumers."

Just as media are adapting to changing times, Media Edge has had to adapt repeatedly in the last few years, including a spinoff from its previous parent, N.W. Ayer & Partners, New York, in 1995 and its sale to Young & Rubicam in 1996.

The unit, which is moving into new headquarters this month, has been on an upswing in the last year. Its wins in 1998 include the consolidated broadcast buying account for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Celebrity Cruise Lines, the consolidated media account for Dr Pepper/Seven Up and the media consolidation of Tricon Global Restaurants.

FOREFRONT OF CHANGE

Last year, Y&R consolidated Media Edge with the buying functions of Y&R Advertising and Wunderman Worldwide into a unit with more than $2 billion in annual billings. At that time, Mr. Igiel, who had been exec VP-director of broadcast buying and programming for Y&R, took on his current role, working with Media Edge President Beth Gordon.

"Media executions continue to change as we evolve and because of that . . . you have to have flexibility" to try new ideas, says Mr. Igiel. "If anything, I'm proud of the fact that my team and I have always been on the forefront" of new developments.

In order to be competitive in today's media environment, agencies have to have the most knowledgeable and most informed media staff, so helping younger people grow is key, says Mr. Igiel.

"We continue to reinvent ourselves to provide our clients with more service, better targeting . . . instead of [working] compartmentalized in silos," he says. "You have to have an environment and an atmosphere that rewards and encourages creative thinking. You have to have a place where you can bring ideas to, because they're going to be encouraged."

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