True North is revamping TN Media under the new name Pervasive Media. And insiders say the company soon will merge FCB Worldwide's media operation into the consolidated unit.
According to a True North executive, the media agency is restructuring to compete more effectively with other unbundled media giants such as WPP's MindShare, Omnicom Group's Optimum Media Direction, Bcom3 Group's Starcom MediaVest and Initiative Media. TN Media is No. 3 on Advertising Age's list of top media specialist agencies in the U.S. with over $5 billion in billings. It is No. 11 on the worldwide list with over $7 billion in billings.
FCB Media handles the media buying and planning for most clients of True North's FCB Worldwide.
TN Media handles the buying for some clients of FCB and all media buying for two other True North agencies, the Bozell Group and Temerlin McClain, Dallas.
True North recently expanded the title of Scot Butler, the worldwide media director of FCB, to include the presidency of TN Media. "They wanted to bring media services more closely together with the agency brands," said a spokeswoman for True North.
One TN Media executive said there had been talk of merging Bozell's and Temerlin's media planning departments. But Mr. Butler denied that, saying, "Our belief is that the planning capabilities should remain at the brand agencies."
He would not deny, however, that FCB Media and TN Media will merge. "There have been no decisions reached. There have been things discussed but no decisions have been reached."
Mr. Butler also would not confirm the new name or the timing of the announcement. "That's not definite either," he said.
Other executives, however, said True North has decided to fold FCB Media into the renamed TN Media, with the consolidation and a new name set for February.
These other executives would not reveal the new name of the agency but would only say that it was reminiscent of Initiative Media, the media agency owned by Interpublic Group of Cos.
True North registered the name Pervasive Media on March 31 this year with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with the following description: "Advertising planning and placement services namely, placing advertisements for others in television, radio, print and other media and advertising consultation services related thereto."
In August, True North registered the domain name Pervasivemedia.com. No site has been launched yet at that URL.
TN Media's client roster includes A&P Supermarkets, Bank of America, The Biotech Council, Limited Inc. stores (The Limited, Lerner Shops, Structure, Victoria's Secret), Schering-Plough and Vlasic Foods, among others. It also serves as the media agency-of-record for a number of key marketers including Coors, Merck, Nabisco and Quaker Oats Co.
Along with a new name, TN Media also is readying a management restructuring that will begin in the first quarter. John Lazarus, currently senior VP-director of national broadcast at TN Media, will be promoted to director of integrated marketing, sports deals and special programming deals. In that position he will work more closely with the national account managers.
Larry Blasius, also senior VP-director of national broadcast, will take over all consolidated national TV buying at the agency. Mr Blasius already handles TN Media's high-profile Coors Brewing account. Howard Nass, senior VP-executive director national broadcast, will also handle integrated marketing on the local level. Christina Mantoulides, senior VP-local broacast director, will handle all the local buying.
Executives said the True North media shift is unrelated to True North's recent loss in a duel for DaimlerChrysler Corp.'s $2.4 billion global creative and media account. That was consolidated last month at BBDO Worldwide in a review against incumbent FCB.
But BBDO's Pentacom already had the automaker's domestic media buying. True North had little of the media business-namely, only a small portion of the international ChryslerDaimler media buying business that now shifts to BBDO.