Business as usual for Maxus & MEC in India. For now…

02 Jun,2017


By A Correspondent


That last bit of the headline is most critical. For now.

Because the winds of change are blowing across the media agency world. There are huge pressures on operational efficiency – cutting costs and flab wherever necessary, combine forces whenever it’s possible and bracing oneself for a world where technology will drive business.


And for WPP-owned GroupM, one of the world’s largest media agency and services conglomerates and clearly the numerouno in India, the situation is the same. And like for any smart strategy consultancy, the writing on the wall is clear. Only the fittest and smartest will survive.


But the decision to maintain the status quo in India, while effecting changes across the world, means a lot.


Although globally MEC is bigger, Maxus is huge in India. Sibling Mindshare may be way ahead, but Maxus has traditionally been very aggressive in the marketplace. Two years back in fact it beat Mindshare at the Emvies, the annual media agency award conducted by Advertising Club. Recently, it bagged the coveted ITC account which was earlier held by Madison and was fiercely contested that involved multiple agencies.


MEC was founded in January 2002 with WPP buyingout CIA’s parent, Tempus. MEC was formed by the merger of The Media Edge and CIA. In 2010, the agency was rechristened MEC from Mediaedge:cia.


In November last year (2016), MEC announced a new global CEO in Tim Castreereplacing Charles Courtier.


Maxus, on the other hand was formed in 2008, though it did exist in some others before. Lindsay Pattison is Global CEO of Maxus, but last month she was also appointed Chief Transformaton Officer of GroupM. She currently holds both charges.


This is what Pattison today after the announcement of last evenng:



Meanwhile, let’s revisit the story that MxMIndia carried on the site last evening:

GroupM has announced a portfolio restructure which is essentially entails the merging if the global operations and teams of its agencies MEC and Maxus into a new, billion dollar revenue, media, content and technology agency under the leadership of MEC’s CEO Tim Castree.


However, Maxus will continue to operate as an agency brand in India with the support of the newly formed global agency as well as the GroupM network. Ditto with MEC which will continue as is. In the near future, MEC will be rebranded to reflect the new global brand.


GroupM’s portfolio will now comprise three successful global media agency networks — Mindshare, MediaCom, and the new company – each with more than one billion dollars in annual revenues, plus an innovative digital-first agency, Essence. GroupM also plans new investments across all of its agencies and its [m]PLATFORM data and technology capabilities.


“We’re committed to improving our service to clients. These moves will give us greater focus, help us innovate, and improve our speed of delivery,” said Kelly Clark, Global CEO, GroupM in a statement.


Since Clark became global CEO in October 2016, GroupM has made a number of organisational changes. Clark recently appointed Lindsay Pattison as GroupM’s Chief Transformation Officer to lead a range of transformation initiatives.


Meanwhile, in a communique, GroupM said it is committed to the expansion of Essence, its digital-first agency, by adding traditional media capabilities and a larger geographic footprint to the agency’s existing media and creative credentials. In time, Essence will also lead several key GroupM client relationships as part of this restructure, the note added.


GroupM acquired Essence in November 2015. “The leadership team at Essence is excited about the opportunities this creates for our clients and our people,” said Christian Juhl, CEO, Essence. “Our mission is to make advertising more valuable to the world; with this infusion of talent, capabilities and markets, we can do this now on a bigger stage.” Clark named Castree CEO of MEC in November 2016.


“Maxus and MEC share common values and ambitions. Both networks have a strong local market presence and entrepreneurial drive. Together, we believe we can create an exciting new media, content and technology agency which we look forward to introducing soon,” said Castree.


“We’ve clearly signaled our ambition to transform, and we mean business,” said Pattison. “This allows us to more meaningfully invest in each agency’s future – retaining and attracting the best talent with inspiring and rewarding workplaces, creating differentiated cultures and approaches, and sharing in a focus on helping clients win.”



It’s business as usual for Maxus and MEC for now in India

Clients of both agencies needn’t worry. Conflicts, if any, will be ironed out

There will be rationalisation in teams, with movements from one grouping to the other. This will help populate the team of Essence


The communication teams of GroupM, MEC and Maxus are tightlipped about giving out any more info, but there is indeed worry about what responsibilities some key folks in both agencies will be given once the merger happens fully.


For now, Ajit Varghese, CEO APAC at Maxus will continue in his current role, but it will be interesting to see what his next role will be given that Maxus Indiia will continue as is, though for the rest of the world, things will change


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