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Leo Burnett and MacManus combine media entities

Bcom3, the holding company formed by the recent merger between the US' Titanic Leo Group (Chaitra Leo Burnett in India) and the MacManus Group (represented here by Ambience D'Arcy), has united its ad agencies' media assets and brands

agencyfaqs! NEWS BUREAU
New Delhi

Bcom3, the holding company formed by the recent merger between the US' Titanic Leo Group (Chaitra Leo Burnett in India) and the MacManus Group (represented here by Ambience D'Arcy), has united its ad agencies' media assets and brands. Burnett's media arm Starcom and D'Arcy's MediaVest have joined hands to form the StarcomMediaVest Group (SMG), the world's largest media entity grossing more than $16.5 bn (not counting Dentsu Japan's share) in annual billings.

The two brands will combine in markets where it's most viable to do so. While MediaVest and Starcom will unite across Asia and certain regions of the world, in their strong markets like North America, Europe the UK, Brazil they will remain separate brands and MediaVest will operate as a sister company. In an exclusive interview to The Economic Times, Roger Kaupt, chief executive officer of Bcom3, said, ``We are responding to our clients' needs by offering a global media solution that combines the resources of three organisations, including Dentsu with its 25 per cent Japanese market share. The resources of this new organisation give it a tremendous opportunity to step up its investment in data-driven decision making and strategic planning systems that give our clients a competitive edge wherever they do business.''

Reports indicate that this media combine will set foot in India within a few months. It will operate under the brandname Starcom and will combine the billings of the Rs 200 crore-plus Leo Burnett India and the Rs 120 crore Ambience. The combined media departments of the two agencies will provide planning, buying and research services.

Dentsu, which holds 20 per cent in Bcom3, and hence its independent ad operations in India, could be part of this pool, though this is till being worked out at global level. Chaitra also has a strategic alliance with Dentsu and the two together have formed Orchard, a Bangalore-based agency. This agency was forged to handle mega Japanese accounts which could conflict with Leo Burnett's roster or the other Dentsu set-ups in India. Post WPP's takeover of Y&R, WPP hopes to keep The Media Edge, the media brand of Y&R, separate, to keep planning and strategic conflicts at bay.

In India this media combine will scale much below the pecking order of Mindshare, which combines the billings of all WPP agencies (HTA, O&M, Contract, Speer) here. Mindshare is also expected to roll as soon as the legal and operational issues are ironed out.
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