The new unit consists of Wunderman Media, The Digital Edge, and Outrider, and is headed by Rob Norman, previously chairman of Mediaedge:cia UK and CEO of Outrider Worldwide, who came to stateside six months ago to prepare for the role of worldwide chief executive officer of MEC Interaction.
"We shared four expert businesses in online and offline advertising, direct response, and search," Norman said on Friday. "We figured that those businesses share some of the same issues, in that they were all about targeting, response management, channel management. Our industry talks about media neutrality all the time, but how can you take a neutral approach to lead generation and response? You do that by bringing all the resources together."
The individual parts of MEC Interaction will not entirely lose their singular identities, as they will still maintain separate profit and loss statements, Norman said. The Digital Edge is WPP shop's online media planning and buying division; Outrider is the search marketing group; and Wunderman Media handles MEC's direct response media planning and buying. Outrider will continue to operate as a global search specialist.
The new entity will play a part in new business reviews, and may also work with MEC's sister shop MindShare. In terms of personnel, Norman would like to make new hires as the unit gets settled.
"There's a real talent squeeze out there, as we're all looking for the new sort of media, communications professional as the business evolves," he said. "That's something we're going to be taking a close look at."
In terms of the current staffers, Alan Schanzer, formerly TDE's managing partner, will oversee MEC Interaction in that same title under the new unit. Sarah Hammel, formerly Wunderman's finance director, will now serve as senior partner, finance director. Both will report to Norman.