Revamped SMGX Is Now London-Based; Muszynski Takes On Dual Spark, SMG Role

Starcom MediaVest Group has reorganized its SMGX unit, establishing a main base of operations in London as it gears up for expansion across the worldwide SMG network. Matt Blackborn, president of emerging markets for SMG, now oversees the global SMGX division.

SMGX was formed in 2009 as a U.S.-based unit designed to manage developments in advertising for advanced TV platforms as well as to lead SMG’s efforts in research and “thought leadership” and marketplace intelligence to inform the network’s media buying and related activities.

In the U.S. meanwhile, the SMGX unit has been dispersed. Initially a separate operation its functions have been embedded in the network’s three agencies, Starcom, MediaVest and Spark Communications and are overseen by the investment heads at the agencies.



Previously, John Muszynski had overseen the standalone SMGX U.S. operation. He has now joined Spark as Chief Investment Officer but also oversees media investment for a pocketful of other SMG clients including work on the network’s Disney assignments. He now reports to Spark CEO Chris Boothe on Spark matters and to SMG Global CEO Laura Desmond regarding the work he does for clients outside of Spark.

According to Blackborn, the firm reorganized SMGX earlier this year in order to scale up globally more efficiently. “It’s an international business,” he said, and to “avoid confusion” the U.S. practice was placed within the agencies with London becoming the new base, or “designated center of excellence” as he calls it.

The Investment heads at the U.S. agencies will work closely on SMGX matters with Blackborn, Damien Evans, SMG’s global investment director and John Sheehy, the network’s president of global operations.

Meanwhile SMG veteran Muszynski becomes part of the Spark team tasked with turning the shop into a third major network brand for SMG. Under Boothe’s leadership  the agency has made significant progress over the past  year, doubling billings to more than $1.3 billion and upping revenue 35% to more than $40 million, according to Adweek. Big wins this year include Kao (Jergens, John Frieda) and pharma company AbbVie. 

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