The festivities havenâ€™t even officially begun and the AAAA media conference is already proving to be an interesting game of one-ups-manship. First OMD chief Joe Uva trumps the conference news by announcing his move to CEO of Spanish-language media giant Univision on the eve of the show, then GroupM chief Irwin Gotlieb shows up in a cushy, tone-setter story in todayâ€™s Wall Street Journal framing the conferenceâ€™s agenda. Thatâ€™s odd, because Gotlieb is the boss of GroupM North America and MindShare chief Marc Goldstein, whoâ€™s the official chair of this yearâ€™s AAAA media conference.
In case you didnâ€™t catch the Journal piece, Gotliebâ€™s best â€“ and most telling â€“ quip comes at the end of his response to a question about Madison Avenueâ€™s reticence toward the marketer-back test of eBayâ€™s trading system for media. â€œFrankly, I have no interest in playing on a level playing field,â€ Gotlieb told the Journal. That, of course, is what some marketers would like to see come out of an electronic trading system â€“ a level playing field. Others, especially the biggest ones, we hear, do not. Theyâ€™re happy with the status quo and with powerful and astute media buying stewards like Irwin Gotlieb handling those decisions.
Someone who wonâ€™t be handling them much longer is Joe Uva, Gotliebâ€™s counterpart at Omnicom for the past several years, whoâ€™s saying adios to Madison Avenue. Or maybe itâ€™s more of a hasta la vista? As CEO of Univision, Uva will no doubt be paying plenty of calls on his old agency cohorts, not to mention their clients.
Itâ€™s a big move for a media buyer to run a major media conglomerate, and I cannot remember the last time an agency media chief made the leap from an agency to CEO of a major corporation. If you can think of any, please post your comments to this post.