Interpublic Consolidates Direct Response Media Buying Units

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Media outlets are in for another tight squeeze as Interpublic Group of Companies Inc., one of the world's leading advertising agency holding companies, consolidates its direct response media planning and buying operations into a separate unit with $400 million in billings.

A new agency called ID Media will pool the direct response buying divisions of Interpublic's DraftWorldwide, Initiative Media Worldwide-run IM2, and TN Media, formerly part of the recently acquired True North Communications. The three shops are part of Interpublic's The Partnership group.

"It makes a lot of sense from a media standpoint because, through consolidation, we make our buying power on behalf of clients even greater," said Lynn Fantom, newly named chairwoman/CEO of ID Media.

Fantom previously was president/CEO of K2 Digital, New York. She has 20 years' experience in advertising and marketing, including six as president of DraftWorldwide, New York.

One hundred fifty executives will staff ID Media offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Atlanta and company headquarters in New York. The DraftWorldwide and IM2 media teams will share the same offices in New York.

These outposts will buy direct response television, radio, print and online media for clients like Johnson & Johnson, American Express Co. and Verizon.

The Interpublic move to club its direct response media assets under one label comes less than two months after a similar effort from rival agency holding company BCom3 Group.

Starcom MediaVest Group, BCom3's media specialist division, combined its Starcom and MediaVest direct response buying divisions into a new subsidiary called Halogen Response Media.

The subsidiary will start with billings of $180 million, 15 employees and offices in New York, Chicago and Toronto. It will offer services like media planning, execution and analysis within the direct marketing business.

Halogen inherits clients like Capital One Financial, AOL Canada, Blue Cross of California, Touchstone Energy, Barbados Tourism, Unicare and direct response television services for Walt Disney World.

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