In putting communications planning at the center of its marketing development, J&J is following such players as Unilever and Procter & Gamble Co. Communications planning marketing mixes customized to a brand based on what research shows to be the best times, places and channels for reaching the brand's key consumers.
But J&J's system has a twist. The North American assignment, which has yet to be fully portioned out to J&J's brands, constitutes an extended trial of three agency models: keeping communications planning within a brand's creative agency at JWT, putting it within an untested holding-company shop with Sandbox, or placing it with a planning boutique at Naked.
"There will be specific brands assigned to Sandbox, Naked and JWT," said Kimberly Kadlec, worldwide VP-chief media officer, J&J. "We're working with marketers now to assign those. ... But the idea is to build some significant success models and grow this model globally."
Among others who have tried communications planning, most have kept it within media shops -- Unilever at WPP Group's MindShare globally, P&G with Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group and Aegis Group's Carat in North America.
"It really became apparent there was a true gap in strategic thinking as it related to media," said Ms. Kadlec. "Communications planning really embodies what I believe the brands were missing."
J&J's media-buying-and-planning assignment -- what it terms the "media leverage AOR" -- also includes a novel twist by incorporating such far-flung disciplines as creative production, promotion, event marketing and other nonmedia outlays not normally covered by such assignments.
One of the main reasons, Ms. Kadlec said, is "to take advantage of the new resources that are available at the media companies themselves. NBC has a digital studio. Meredith has a creative and marketing team. Time Warner does a lot of creative.
... There are new offerings from large media companies that we would like to leverage better, and we believe this team will help us do that."
While J&J didn't consolidate media buying globally, it did unite it regionally in an effort to better leverage the scale of its media outlays, Ms. Kadlec said. In addition to Interpublic's North America assignment, OMD will become regional agency of record for Latin America and Asia-Pacific (with UM and Initiative retaining Japan and some Southeast Asian island countries). Aegis Group's Aegis Media will take regional duties in Europe, the Middle East and Africa from Initiative.
Playing in the sandbox
Sandbox will pull in UM's Global head of communications planning, Wayne Fletcher, as president and will be staffed by communications planners from UM, R/GA and others. It will be overseen by an advisory board of planning heads of RG/A, Momentum, UM and Initiative.
-- Brooke Capps