MEDIA BUYING AND MORE

VETERAN AGENCY EXECS SET UP HYBRID SHOP

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Less than four months after striking out on their own, two former Young & Rubicam media honchos have developed a hybrid media service unlike any offered by traditional independent media buying companies.

IDM International, New York-formed in September by former Y&R Exec VP-Director of Communications Services Paul Isacsson and Exec VP-Director of National Television Gerri Donini-has already racked up nearly $50 million in billings from advertisers, agencies and media companies.

Though Mr. Isacsson and Ms. Donini are experienced primarily in national broadcast negotiations, they have branched out into a full-service entity, providing media planning and even creative services via an affiliation with an independent creative shop, the Leap Partnership, Chicago.

IDM is also assisting with program development, distribution and marketing of international TV shows for an undisclosed media company, and is exploring the possibility of serving as a sales or ganization for independent TV producers, which would make it both a buyer and seller of media time.

Mr. Isacsson, CBS-TV sales chief before joining Y&R in the early 1980s, said he and Ms. Donini went out on their own because they were frustrated by the resources traditional ad agencies devote to media.

"I used to say to Y&R management, `You know, my career is in the hands of a 23-year-old kid,"' Mr. Isacsson said. "Agencies are trimming their staff, and they're pushing the work down to more junior-level people."

Arguably two of the most feared and respected negotiators on broadcast row, the team was responsible for about $700 million in national broadcast buying at Y&R.

Mr. Isacsson said confidentiality agreements forbid him from disclosing what clients IDM has picked up to date, but he said they include a mix of small to midsize advertisers and a $20 million buying assignment from an agency billing about $200 million in media.

He also said IDM plans to expand beyond traditional TV buying services into new-media service areas, including interactive.

As for IDM's full-service capabilities, Mr. Isacsson said the company plans to provide necessary services on an ad hoc basis by affiliating with appropriate companies.

Mr. Isacsson said he was drawn to the Leap Partnership because its management has a business philosophy similar to his own. Leap came into being when a group of high-level creatives at DDB Needham Worldwide went out on their own.

He said IDM is close to establishing a similar "creative association" in New York.

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