Mediabrands Rolls Out BPN, Operating Worldwide


Mediabrands has quietly begun rolling out its third media agency, Brand Programming Network.

The company has indicated that the new shop would operate in 14 countries around the world with start-up billings of $900 million. In addition to the U.S., the agency has offices in India, where operations recently began. 

BPN will also conduct business in Europe and Latin America.

Initial BPN clients include Heineken, GSK, Staples and Hyundai.

The new agency has been in the works for over a year. Mediabrands CEO Matt Seiler confirmed plans for BPN last September. At the time, he said a key driver for launching the new shop was to enable the company to pitch new business in categories where Mediabrands’ other agencies -- UM and Initiative -- had conflicting accounts.

Seiler said the new agency would aggressively pursue pay-for-performance compensation models and utilize new technologies that would enable it to pursue more assignments with fewer offices and personnel than traditional media shops. The new agency is also expected to focus sharply on brand health metrics and social media.

When BPN launched in India in June, as part of IPG’s Lintas Media Group, Lintas CEO Lynn de Souza stated: “For media agencies thus far, the starting point has always been the advertiser. BPN will focus on the brand. The time has come to make the brand the hero of all communication effort, and BPN has developed processes to do just that.”

BPN clients in the Indian market include consumer-goods company Jyothy-Henkel, bicycle and motorcycle manufacturer Bajaj Auto, Amul Hosiery, and lighting and appliance maker Bajaj Electricals.

Overseeing India’s BPN operation is Suresh Balakrishna, who was hired in January as CEO to get the unit up and running. Balakrishna indicated that BPN would work closely with Mediabrands sibling agencies Lintas Initiative Outdoor, which he also oversees, and digital shop Reprise Media.

“BPN will focus on promoting brand programming using social media as a key source of information to reach consumers at every touchpoint,” he stated. “This agency will be characterized by its agility, creativity and understanding of new [media] avenues.”

Mediabrands officials confirmed in May that in the U.S., BPN would report to Brian McMahon, the CEO of Orion Trading, the Mediabrands unit that specializes in trading corporate assets for ad time and space. To date, the company has not hired -- or at least not publicly identified -- who will run the day to day operations of the new shop in the U.S.



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