International: MindShare Regroups to Expand Empire

International: MindShare Regroups to Expand Empire

Author | Source: Advertising Age | Monday, Apr 21,2008 8:21 AM

International: MindShare Regroups to Expand Empire

NEW YORK ( -- MindShare's planned restructuring, announced last week, is at the center of the WPP media agency's effort to move beyond planning and buying and create new revenue streams from content and intellectual-property creation, as well as McKinsey-style business consulting.

The restructuring will integrate 12 operations within MindShare (including digital arm MindShare Interaction) into four areas that will span all MindShare services: a consultative-business-planning unit; a content-creation or an invention group; a unit dubbed the Exchange, which will handle the actual purchasing of media; and a client-services team.

The move is a clear delineation of just what services are on offer and a way to eventually get paid for those different functions by establishing the value of each discipline (much as the controversial unbundling of media from creative was a way to get paid for both those disciplines).

Time will tell how well each unit is received by marketers, but David Beals, president of consultancy Jones Lundin Beals, said there is a definite need for media consulting in the industry. "Consulting is a smart area [to get into] because most clients we run into are desperate for thought leadership in the media space," he said.

'In the Motherhood'

A recent campaign that shows how MindShare's four new units will work together is "In the Motherhood," a series of webisodes created by the agency for Sprint and Unilever in partnership with MSN. According to MindShare North American CEO Scott Neslund, the campaign started with an in-depth analysis of Sprint's and Suave's businesses. The agency then generated an insight about women -- that they want to be able to interact with other moms. Coming up with the insight that will drive a campaign is what the business-planning unit will do for marketers.

The invention group took that insight and built a new advertising space, in this case developing webisodes that turned consumer-generated material into a professional series. The Exchange was used when MindShare pushed "In the Motherhood" to multiple channels, including partnerships with "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and online communities for mothers. Client leadership, the fourth unit MindShare has established in its new agency structure, came into play throughout the entire process, as agency executives worked with the clients to manage the project. "Clients have reacted strongly that they think this is the right thing to do," Mr. Neslund said of the reorganization. "They are excited about the digital integration of services and [that] we are streamlining the media-marketing process for their benefit."

MindShare, which handles more than $21 billion in billings globally, is one of the world's biggest media buyers and the largest U.S. player, according to RECMA.


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