"Buying at a lower cost is no longer enough to win the business," said U.S. Media Director Page Thompson. "Where you place the media and the tools used to do that can make a dramatic difference."
Optimum Media will have a staff of 450 and will place close to $2 billion in media buys, said Mr. Thompson.
He concedes his agency is a latecomer to the media-only mania-agencies including Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt created such units in the early '90s-but added, "I don't think being first means being the best."
Optimum Media will initially consist of national broadcast buying, local broadcast buying, media technologies and media research operations. Planning remains separate within each office.
National broadcast will be headed by Dan Rank, formerly director of U.S. media and now director of Optimum network; Sylvia Rodriguez, formerly national director of local broadcast, becomes director of Optimum spot.
Beth Uyenco, formerly senior VP-media research in Chicago, is now director of Optimum media research; and Wes Dubin, former senior VP of electronic ventures in Chicago, becomes director of Optimum new technologies.
Ms. Uyenco and Mr. Dubin remain in Chicago, while the others are based in New York; all report to Mr. Thompson.
Outdoor, magazine and newspaper units will be folded into Optimum in the next six to nine months.
NEXT STEP: EVOLVE
"The next step is to evolve [the media buying unit] worldwide," Mr. Thompson said. "This will become the global DDB Needham media brand."
Optimum Media was already established in Europe, but DDB Needham is now expanding the media unit into Latin America and the Asia/Pacific.
Also as expected, Omnicom Group sisters DDB Needham and BBDO Worldwide will house their European media under the umbrella of Optimum Media Directions.