Cheil's BMB Opens U.K. Media Agency With Omnicom's Goodstuff

New Shop Aims at Smaller Clients, Launching With Pretty Polly Hosiery and Pussy Drinks

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Beattie McGuinness Bungay, a London agency that is 49% owned by Korea's international network Cheil Worldwide, will announce today the launch in London of BMB Media, a joint venture with Omnicom-backed agency Goodstuff Communications.

Andrew McGuinness
Andrew McGuinness

Andrew McGuinness, founding partner of BMB, said, "BMB Media will be right for medium-sized clients who are lost within existing media agencies and who don't have the time to manage two separate entities. They will have the benefits of Omnicom's size, and the benefit of fewer points of contact."

BMB Media launches with two BMB clients, Pretty Polly hosiery, and Pussy Drinks, a provocatively named energy drink with limited distribution that added Richard Branson's son and daughter, Sam and Holly, as investors last month. BMB also took an equity stake when it won the Pussy Drinks ad account earlier this year.

BMB Media is led by Sam Drake, former strategy director of Starcom MediaVest Group in the U.K. Said Mr. Drake, "One of the biggest barriers in our industry today remains agency collaboration. We are in a unique position to offer clients a way of working that stands us apart from the market."

Goodstuff was founded in 2004, and Omnicom recently upped its minority stake in the agency, which describes itself on its website as "the U.K.'s best-connected media independent."

BMB has been growing through joint ventures but hasn't had much luck expanding on its own. The agency closed its New York office in October. BMB opened in the U.S. a few months after selling a minority stake to Cheil in December 2008, expecting to win a significant slice of Samsung business in the U.S. Samsung has a 15% stake in Cheil, its former house agency, and is a BMB client in the U.K.

However, the Samsung business did not materialize. Mr. McGuinness said, "It was taking a lot of energy to get going in such a low-growth market, compared to the traction we have in India, where the ad market is growing at 14% this year. It's easier to make your way as a newbie in higher-growth markets, although there are other problems, like the 20% wage inflation in India because of the dearth of talent."

BMB opened offices in Mumbai and Delhi a year ago in a joint venture called BMB Madison with one of India's biggest independent agencies, Madison World.

"We have one other deal to announce in the U.K., and we really want to get India motoring -- we've won five pieces of local business this year," Mr. McGuinness said.

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