Interpublic launches global media contender BPN

So how does BPN from Interpublic strike you as a new global media agency?

Hmm. BPN stands for Brand Programming Network, which, on the face of it, doesn’t seem to mean a lot but not that many monikers in media do these days.

Interpublic announced last year that it was going to launch a new media agency under its Mediabrands umbrella and it’s difficult to see if this is just a third sibling/rival to Universal and Initiative, a tidying up exercise for the various unaligned shops (some called Brand Connection) it has acquired over the years or something new.

This is what Mediabrands boss Matt Seiler told Ad Age: “The world doesn’t need just another conflict shop; it needs different points of view. We watched other holding companies make mistakes there, where they’ve funneled [business] into one network at the sacrifice of another, or created a built-in anemia for a network by not supporting it.”

The different point of view is, apparently, compensation based on shopper marketing, sales presumably.

According to Seiler: “The beautiful thing about where data collection and analysis has gotten us, through digital, is we can see and inform more of those [consumer] decisions at the closest point to them being made as possible. When we first concepted BPN, [we said] it would not be expressly for retail-based clients but rather it has a retailer’s eye and point of view.”

Well that’s as clear as mud then. The new agency will be headed by global CEO Mauricio Sabogal, formerly of Mediabrands Ventures, and North American CEO Liz Ross, formerly of Digitas among other agencies. Founding clients, $800m worth, shipped out of Universal, include Subaru, Applebee’s, Six Flags, Ethan Allen, New York Stock Exchange and Eggland’s Best, not all of which fall into the retail category.

Seiler and the Mediabrands crew are very keen on technology, shipping clients around the big technology exhibitions, so presumably this is the advantage BPN is trying to exploit. Interpublic also obviously feels that it is losing out to the likes of WPP (which has MediaCom, Mindshare, MEC, Maxus and Kinetic grouped under GroupM) in media coverage although Omnicom seems to manage quite happily with OMD and PHD.

Anyway, we shouldn’t write off these things before they start but they could surely have come up with a better name.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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