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The first thing one notices about Andy Donchin, VP-director of national broadcast at Carat North America, New York, is that he's seemingly always in, no matter what time the call to his office.

Mr. Donchin, 38, jokes about it: "I'm the iron man, the Lou Gehrig of Carat."


Although he's managed to stay out of the limelight, he quietly built a stellar reputation during his seven years as VP-director of national broadcast for Media Buying Services. While there, he worked his magic for clients such as Fuji Photo Film USA, which had relatively limited media budgets.

Now that MBS is part of global media giant Carat, along with International Communications Corp., Mr. Donchin is getting his day in the sun in charge of national TV buying for both shops. In the past year, his palette has become much richer.

"In my experience, it's a misconception that you need a big agency to get good rates from the networks. What you need is a good person, someone who's got a great rapport with the sellers, and that's Andy," says Carol Schauer, director of media services for Boston Market.

Attention to clients and "creative negotiations, doing more with less, have been my strong suits," Mr. Donchin says.

"He goes out of the way to look for opportunities for us. He's a problem solver who gives you lots of alternative solutions," says Jeff McLean, VP-lens care marketing, North American Vision Care, Bausch & Lomb.

A typical Donchin play was a spot in the final episode of "Seinfeld" for Fuji. Since most 30-second spots in the show went for about $1.8 million, was it really a good buy?

Mr. Donchin doesn't flinch.

"For Fuji, you betchya. We need to pick our spots for them, because they don't spend the dollar volume Kodak does. The publicity Fuji got for being on the show [including a featured ad column piece in The New York Times] more than paid for the cost of the spot," he says.

Now, with Carat behind him, Mr. Donchin is looking forward to the agency landing bigger accounts and translating his skills to clients who spend more.

"For years we've been playing a cost-per-thousand game," Mr. Donchin notes. "That's about to change, big time. Carat is known for research. I think I know how to buy well. Now I'll be learning to buy smarter. We can target better and eliminate waste. If information is the key, we'll have more of it than anyone."

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