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Vizeum

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Vizeum is the second global media network within what is now Dentsu Aegis Network, sitting behind lead brand Carat. Vizeum presents itself in part as a "challenger" brand, undertaking more flexible or unconventional media assignments. More often, however, it is used to resolve account conflicts within Carat, or to provide a more tailored service to demanding local clients. As a result, despite its "challenger" positioning, Vizeum's client list in most markets is divided between genuine alternative brands and well-established blue-chips.

Clients

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Competitors

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Brand & Activities

By the end of 2015, Vizeum claimed 70 offices in 49 countries worldwide. AdAge estimated global revenues of $302m in 2016. Vizeum's strongest markets are Europe and Asia. The group established its first outpost in Latin America in 2011 in Argentina, followed by one in Colombia. In 2013, the group acquired Spanish independent Ymedia and folded its existing operations into that unit.

Unlike other "secondary" media networks such as PHD and Maxus, Vizeum has yet to convince as a full-blown international media brand, although for the most part each of its local offices performs a good job in its regional market. The group lacks more than three or four major global clients of its own (as opposed to Dentsu Aegis group clients shared with Carat), and some critics have argued in the past that there is not enough coordination between different offices. This is something Vizeum's management team has attempted to remedy, although at the same time the agency has also been drawn closer to Carat.

Nielsen (in Campaign) ranked Vizeum UK as the #9 local media agency in 2016 with billings of £357m. Key clients that year included Shop Direct, National Lottery, BMW (lost that year) and Ikea.

In 2016, Dentsu Aegis Network announced plans to to combine the US outpost of Vizeum with its significantly larger digital agency 360i. Vizeum USA currently employs around 150 staff, to 360i's 800-plus. Both agencies will retain separate branding.

Background

Vizeum was originally formed in 2003 from the realignment of 17 previously standalone European shops owned by Aegis, including Horizon in Italy, HMS in Germany (previously HMS Carat), Media Kompetens in Scandinavia, and BBJ Media Services in the UK. The latter was arguably the powerhouse of the network. That business was founded in 1989 when Jerry Buhlmann (now Dentsu Aegis Network CEO), Nick Brien (later at McCann Worldgroup) and Colin Jelfs jumped ship from WCRS to handle media buying for what was then Bass Brewers. Carat acquired a 75% stake in the company in the mid-1990s; Brien and Jelfs left shortly afterwards, and BBJ was left as a second string in the UK to handle client conflict accounts.

The end of the decade proved a turning point for the agency. In 1999, it saw a third of its billings wiped out when key client Volkswagen consolidated its global account into Mediacom. At the same time Aegis bought out Buhlmann's remaining stake in business, and shifted him across to the main Carat brand. He was replaced in early 2000 by high profile media guru Trista Grant, formerly head of Universal McCann in London. Grant helped establish BBJ as a dynamic force in the UK market, picking up high profile business from Coca-Cola, BMW and HBOS before she left eventually the agency in 2005.

Following the 2003 rebranding of its various local offices under the Vizeum name, the group gradually set about expanding into other markets. Later the same year, Aegis acquired smaller agencies in the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden, and opened new outposts in Belgium and also China. Operations were established in Ireland, Denmark and Taiwan during 2004, and the network filled out its coverage with the acquisition of several agencies in 2005 including German independent Dr Pichutta and Komandarm of Russia. A North American presence was established in 2006 with outposts in the US and Canada, and the UK office's digital credentials were strengthened by an alignment with interactive media unit Diffiniti, previously a standalone entity within Aegis The Canadian office of Vizeum was further strengthened by the acquisition of leading independent Genesis Media in 2007. An Australia office opened for the first time in 2009 with the acquisition and rebranding of local shop Frank. In 2010, the group agreed a joint venture in China with leading local TV buyer Charm Communications, which contributed some of its own clients into an enlarged Vizeum China unit.

Last full revision 23rd August 2016

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