Bronze: MBS/The Media Company

Agency heads: David Campbell, president/CEO, MBS; and Doug Checkeris, president/CEO, The Media Company

Agency heads: David Campbell, president/CEO, MBS; and Doug Checkeris, president/CEO, The Media Company

Number of employees: 200+

Notable clients: TD Canada Trust, Canadian Tire, Ontario Government AOR, Procter & Gamble TV AOR, and Rogers Communications.

Major new business wins: Belron (Speedy Auto Glass), DreamWorks SKG, Gillette, Mackenzie Financial, and Mini.

Major losses: none

We could call them the dynamic duo but that wouldn’t do justice to the synergy between David Campbell and Doug Checkeris, who jointly run MBS/The Media Company.

‘We’ve got very much the same vision of the business,’ says Campbell. Checkeris concurs. ‘We’re still finding ways to complement each other’s skills and finish each other’s sentences,’ he says. Essentially Campbell and Checkeris have divided up the client list and co-manage the entire company. The simplest explanation is that it’s one company with two brands.

The agency’s slightly unconventional management arrangement seems appropriate given that the very formation of the company was considered unorthodox at the time. MBS – credited as being the first standalone media management company in North America – started as Media Buying Services in 1969. The Media Company was formed as a joint venture with MediaCom, Grey Global Group’s media management arm, in 1997. Two years ago, MediaCom acquired the two brands of MediaCom Worldwide (Canada) in their entirety. Today, the pairing seems to be working.

One of the agency’s campaign highlights over the past year was the new work for Canadian Tire. Campbell says with so much publicity surrounding Taxi’s pending work for the iconic brand, one of the main media challenges was to get the frequency and message rotation right to create impact without alienating customers. But that’s a challenge made easier with Canadian Tire execs now so open to new approaches. For example, there’s the 12-page back-to-school catalogue called the ‘Student Stuff Guide.’ Roughly 900,000 copies were inserted in student-relevant publications across the country including Now and Exclaim! in addition to another 900,000 catalogues mailed to households. The catalogue was designed along the lines of its quirky

pop-up signs TV spots with $115 in discount coupons inside.

Another media coup was for client TD Canada Trust. The agency built on the bank’s comfort positioning and its green chair icon by setting up a TD Comfort Centre with green chairs on the ground level of Toronto’s Rogers Centre and also placed the green chairs in the front row of CTV’s Canadian Idol where they’re featured directly in the program.

But it’s the digital side of the business that is truly booming. The goal at the beginning of the year was to grow that area by 40%, but with about 40 clients involved in the digital space right now, Campbell expects they will greatly exceed that target. Business is already up by 50% and there are still a few months to go until the end of the year. He says more advertisers are now doing bigger campaigns more frequently.

‘The whole industry is growing,’ says Maura Hanley, SVP,

direct and interactive, MBS to explain part of the reason for the impressive numbers. At MBS, she says that the biggest growth is occurring with clients who previously tested the digital waters with smaller programs and were impressed by the strong results they received. She adds that the biggest growth has come in the retail and packaged goods categories.

‘There’s been a tide shifted in that we used to have to go out and educate clients,’ she says, ‘Now we don’t need to do the asking.’