OMD (Contender)

Roster grows, new-media initiative rolls and breakthough work piles up

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After hitting its stride as Advertising Age's Media Agency of the Year for 2005, OMD had a quiet, drama-free 2006. Locked out of some major reviews by client conflicts, OMD followed up 2005's blockbuster new-business performance with some smaller but significant coups. The year started out with a series of losses that included ABC, HBO and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. But the Omnicom Group-owned network rebounded by attracting new clients such as United Technologies, Bose, the CW, Hoover and H&R Block, and grew existing business with major clients such as Nissan North America.

Its high-growth media initiative, a pool of new-media spending from 14 clients, is one of the industry's most ambitious attempts to test the waters and understand advertising effectiveness on platforms such as DVRs, VOD and interactive TV. Next: video games and streaming media.

OMD, led by CEO North America Page Thompson, kept doing breakthrough work. With sibling BBDO Worldwide, the agency helped de-velop the DVR-thwarting "One Second Theater" for General Electric Co. OMD also worked with free media, as in the launch of McDonald Corp.'s spicy chicken sandwich in Seattle, in which it hired the local fire department to hose down a billboard for the sandwich. Sales in that market were nearly 40% higher than national average.
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