OMD revamps, moves buying back to agencies

Two years after its formation, the country's largest media buying company, OMD Canada, is restructuring and moving media buyers back into the individual agencies in the Omnicom network. ...

Two years after its formation, the country’s largest media buying company, OMD Canada, is restructuring and moving media buyers back into the individual agencies in the Omnicom network.

The restructuring will allow the agencies to better deal with convergence and cross-platform programs and will bring buyers back into the agency environment to sit at the table with planners and creative people, says Lorraine Hughes, media director and director of operations for TBWA/Chiat-Day in Toronto.

‘You can’t deliver an integrated perspective on anything unless you’ve got an integrated perspective. When you have chunks of the media in different places, that becomes very difficult. Media people have fought long and hard to have an influence on strategy and we’re intent on keeping that.’

Hughes continues: ‘What we’re trying to say and prove, is that we don’t think our clients should have to make concessions just for price. They should be able to get a measure of it all – cost efficiency and smart thinking as well.’

The hub of the decentralized operation will be OMD Centre in Toronto where OMD Canada president Ann Boden will reside along with a group of research and specialized media experts. OMD Centre will exercise the clout for the company and handle macro negotiations with media sellers for all Omnicom agencies.

The agency media departments will be linked by computer to OMD Centre and the buyers now with OMD Canada will be dispersed amongst BBDO, Palmer Jarvis DDB and TBWA/Chiat-Day offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

In a memo released prior to a two-week holiday, Boden explained: ‘In order to harness that talent (in the Omnicom agencies), create a more cohesive and efficient media operation, marry the media planning and buying functions, and allow for a closer working relationship with the agencies, we are moving to a new OMD operating model effective immediately…. Each of the Omnicom agencies will have OMD staff located at the agency handling planning and buying, headed by a media director who will work closely with OMD Centre. All the media personnel will become OMD employees.’

Boden concludes, ‘We believe this new structure is the best one today for our clients, our agencies and our media people.’

Agencies involved in the OMD restructuring are, in Toronto, Pentacom (the Chrysler unit of BBDO Canada), BBDO Canada, PJ/DDB and TBWA/Chiat-Day; in Vancouver, Lanyon Phillips Communications and Bryant Fulton & Shee; and in Montreal, PNMD.

Year 2000 billings for OMD Canada were more than $700 million.