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I would not say we are ‘disassociated’ with GroupM in India: MediaCom’s Stephen Allan

04-May-2009
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I would not say we are ‘disassociated’ with GroupM in India: MediaCom’s Stephen Allan

It has been almost a year since it was first announced that Madison World’s Chairman Sam Balsara has acquired a 51 percent stake in WPP’s MediaCom in India. This was a direct result of the Procter & Gamble consolidating their complete business with MediaCom in India. Since then, MediaCom has become more of a Madison entity in this market than a GroupM entity.

In an exclusive conversation with exchange4media, MediaCom Worldwide Global Chairman and CEO, Stephen Allan, speaks on the structure in India and how it has helped in the overall growth of the agency. While Allan did not answer any questions on the revenue structure between Balsara and MediaCom on the various clients, he did emphasise that the relationship had been very productive so far.

The chord joining Madison and GroupM

Allan said, “Bear in my mind that this development had happened before my appointment in the company, but to answer your question, Sam’s group is the strongest media independent in the market, and we saw a really strong local partner who we could join forces with and provide better offerings for MediaCom’s local clients and its network in the region.”

A distinctive aspect about MediaCom in India is that it is lesser of a GroupM entity. While some quarters had stated that MediaCom would disassociate itself from GroupM in India and is a second Madison agency, Allan explained more on what the on-ground reality of the structure is. He elaborated, “I would not say that we are ‘disassociated’ with GroupM in India. While P&G has an absolutely different approach in an entirely new setup, if there are good reasons for other clients to benefit from the GroupM relation, than we do follow that – so it is a mix in that sense.”

India on the right track

Much like is the case with just about anyone, India is one of the most important markets for MediaCom, too, at present, and according to Allan, the agency has been looking at aggressively expanding in this market. Madison and MediaCom had come together for the P&G pitch and it was successful. Now MediaCom has moved offices in India, and has relocated closer to rest of Madison offices. Allan promises that the year ahead would be “busy”.

He said, “We have got lots of plans for the year ahead. There are many developments in the market and we have to agree on how we take advantage of them. One of the things that we are constantly seeing is what other markets can learn from India, and what India can learn from the other markets.”

For Allan, the India operations are on track and doing well. Citing an example, he said, “We had a regional meeting in Singapore in February, where we had our own internal planning awards and Divya (Gururaj, MD, MediaCom India) and her team won there for the ‘Gillette Shave or Not to Shave’ campaign. There are some very inspirational things coming from India.”

According to Allan, as a market, India was interesting for MediaCom for two reasons – one, it is a growth market, and second, because “MediaCom as a network is yet to exploit the opportunity available”.

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