OPTIMEDIA (striver)

Young makes planning the driver; hires team focused on new media

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last year Antony Young revealed his vision for Optimedia, the Publicis Groupe agency that had long lagged behind sibling Zenith. Mr. Young, a planner who was named U.S. CEO last summer when Mike Drexler retired, made communications planning the engine that will take Optimedia into the future. He also recruited a slew of talent, including buying-boss Larry Novenstern, interactive chief Andy Sims and former Zenith executive Chris Pyne now charged with driving the planning operation. Mr. Novenstern was tapped to run the integrated new-media and broadcast group.

New business took a back seat to those internal shifts, though Optimedia managed to reel in billings from Maytag Corp. and Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, while losing small accounts from New York Life and Principal Financial Group. A top job for the new team will be to inject some juice into business development.

Optimedia integrated the T-Mobile Sidekick into Midway Games' video game "NBA Ballers: Phenom," getting it 52.5 million impressions for a cost per thousand of just $2.82. L'Oreal cosmetics line Garnier Nutrisse saw an 18% sales increase thanks in part to an integrated Optimedia program built around actress Sarah Jessica Parker.
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