Best & Brightest Special Report: Lowe Lintas' Menduni delivers for UPS

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Charlie Menduni's mission is for all those familiar folks in brown to bring back more of the green. "We want to communicate how a 93-year-old company with a great heritage-all those guys in brown-is enabling companies to create better e-commerce," said Menduni, senior VP-group media director at New York-based Lowe Lintas & Partners. "That's clearly the main challenge for media placement [for United Parcel Service]," he said.

It's back to the future for Menduni, a St. Johns University graduate who started at Lowe Lintas after college but left for several years to work at a few other ad agencies such as Foote, Cone & Belding and Della Femina before returning to Lowe Lintas in January.

Menduni, who has worked nearly exclusively on the UPS account, has been busy cultivating UPS' Logistic Group through the company's national campaign. The group creates supply chain solutions and wants to convey the message that UPS can deliver data as well as it does packages. The group is vital to UPS' future, considering that 80% of its business is marketed to the b-to-b arena.

Focusing UPS' marketing efforts on the Logistics Group has paid off, apparently; Revenues for the group have increased 70% since 1998. Comparatively, overall company revenues for UPS were up 22% in the third quarter 2000.

The UPS account is rolling right along now, but Menduni recalls the heavy lifting he did to get the company's media buys back on track earlier this year. Part of the problem was that a third party had been buying media for UPS since May 1999.

"We were pretty much behind the eight ball because of all the turnover" related to the Lowe Lintas merger with Ammirati Puris, said Menduni, who was able to steer UPS' marketing back to Lowe Lintas. "You need the proximity to the buying group, which is better for communication," he added. Once that was completed this May, "the caliber of buying has been much greater, not to take anything away from Initiative. [Now] there's better responsiveness to the client," he said.

Although UPS relies heavily on the b-to-b space, its advertising budget spans both new media and old. About 50% of UPS' ad budget is devoted to network and cable TV programming such as the NFL, the Olympics and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," as well as spots on ESPN, CNN and CNBC, for just a few examples. The remaining 50% goes into print-both the traditional newsweeklies and the new economy magazines such as Business 2.0, The Industry Standard and Red Herring--and sports marketing.

In 2001 however, Menduni wants to dial up UPS' visibility in the b-to-b field. "That's our core audience and gives us permission to become more detailed in the message, which we can't do in the consumer area."

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