Initiative Activates Spengler To New Title, Role

In a new war of words on Madison Avenue "activation" appears to be challenging "engagement" as the unofficial 2006 industry buzzword. Initiative North America named veteran network buying executive Tim Spengler chief activation officer, a newly created position, and the latest in a string of shops to activate the word into a formal job function. Spengler, 42, will also head the IPG shop's new implementation council, which integrates the day-to-day operations of all Initiative's buying units. He reports to North American CEO Richard Beaven. Previously, he reported to global CEO Alec Gerster.

Initiative said in a statement the council would be "made up of the agency's top activation executives in traditional, digital and emerging media."

With Spengler as head, it consolidates the agency's media-buying departments under a single executive.

Spengler defined "activation" as "to bring together, maximize and exploit opportunities in the marketplace to connect client brands to consumers." He says the council and position were created to better "engage the offerings that are coming from the media companies in a less siloed pattern."



Spengler's previous duties as executive vice president, director of broadcast, will be assumed by Ray Dundas and Scott Haugenes, who will share the title senior vice president, group director, national broadcast. Dundas and Haugenes will also be members of the Implementation Council, joined by: Sue Johenning, executive vice president, local broadcast; Beth Fidoten, senior vice president, print services; Michael Hayes, vice president, Interactive; and Alan Cohen, executive vice president, Initiative Innovations and Entertainment.

Initiative's move follows Starcom's August appointment of Chris Boothe as president-chief activation officer, which also consolidated all media buying departments under one executive. Last March, MediaVest reorganized its buying groups into what it now calls Video Investment and Activation units.

Who's next? A Google search turns up a URL for Ogilvy Activation, which, when clicked, links visitors to Ogilvy's nontraditional marketing-services company 141 Worldwide. A spokesperson for 141 Worldwide denied that the company had any plans to change its name.

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