Who does the deal?: How agencies handle cross-media packages
The idea for the division originated a couple of years ago with a cross-media deal with Turner. “It was the first global deal ever put together, for 15 clients in Europe and Asia,” Cella says. The deal was the beginning of a wave of cross-media deals from AOL Time Warner, News Corporation, NBC Connects, ABC/ESPN Sports and Viacom.”And we’re going to be seeing several others,” he says.
Cella says he formalized the group at Universal McCann a little over a month ago and will begin talking with advertisers to arrange cross-media deals. The group includes a half-dozen members from different media areas, including national TV, local TV, print, Internet, and programming strategy. He’s not sure which clients he’ll make cross-media deals for yet.
Many other media buying agencies have formed similar cross-media divisions. “We don’t have a fancy name for it, but that’s exactly what we’re doing,” says Rich Hamilton, ceo of Zenith Media, the media-buying division for Cordiant Communications Group and Publicis SA.
Hamilton likens his operation to Universal McCann’s, because both are headed by national broadcast directors, with Zenith’s headed by Peggy Green. The reason for this is that “network TV is the bulk of the dollars,” he says. The cross-media deals span cable, network, and local TV, in addition to magazines and other media properties.
Carat North America, the largest media-buying agency unaffiliated with an advertising agency, also brings people together from different departments on cross-media deals, according to Roger Sant, chief strategy officer for Carat Interactive in Boston. “If you want to integrate cross-media deals, you have to get people from different disciplines aligned and strategically focused to work out the client’s goal,” he says.
The company made a cross-platform buy for Radio Shack with a multimedia company Sant wouldn’t name. The deal mixed TV with Internet advertising in which ads on ESPN and the Discovery Channel drove viewers to microsites at ESPN.com and other sites for contests and other promotions. To do the deal, “we pulled together people from print, direct, TV, and interactive at the meeting with the media company,” Sant says. “It was great getting so many people from different disciplines in the same meeting.”
Not every media buying agency brings people from different areas together to work on cross-platform deals. “We cross-train people so they can handle vendors and discuss opportunities across all media types,” says Alan Schanzer, senior vice president and managing director of Digital Edge, a media-buying division of Media Edge. “We have client focused teams that are cross-trained.”
One team handled a buy for Wine.com that bought a cross-media package from Conde Nast that included magazine ads in Bon Appetit, television ads on the Discovery Channel, and online ads on Conde Nast sites such as Epicurious.com.
McCann’s Bill Cella says “advertisers are thrilled about the new division because it validates what they’ve been doing for the past year.” He also says this is an ideal time to work on cross media deals because of the soft market. “It’s easier to work among different divisions to get acceptance of cross platform deals. When you have a strong market, they want to do their own thing. Divisions within companies are less wanting to embrace a concept where they may have to discount some things in a strong market. In a soft market, everyone wants volume, so they’re all on the same page.” — Ken Liebeskind