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OMD advertising & marketing assignments

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OMD is now the world's biggest media services brand, with billings of $19.6bn in 2019 (according to COMvergence). As the main media brand within marketing services giant Omnicom, and principal component of Omnicom Media Group, it is closely associated with advertising networks BBDO, DDB and TBWA, although some business is handled by sister network PHD. OMD also manages media and related services for clients of other ad networks. Reflecting the creative abilities of its partner agencies, OMD has a reputation for especially innovative and unusual media planning and buying. According to the ranking compiled by The Gunn Report, it has been the world's most awarded media network every year since 2004. However life has been uncharacteristically challenging for the agency since 2013, with some large account losses and only a few big gains. The biggest of these - P&G and AT&T in North America - are managed by a separate, newly created network, Hearts & Science, rather than the main OMD network.


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Brand & Activities

OMD has consistently been one of the top two media agencies in both billings and reputation since its creation, widely admired for its professionalism, creativity and global footprint. According to the Gunn Report, which monitors advertising awards, OMD has been the world's most awarded media network every year since the report began in 2004. It collected its 11th consecutive first place in 2016. In 2011, it won seven media Lions at the Cannes Lions festival, more than any other agency, and also the Grand Prix for a campaign from UK subsidiary Manning Gottlieb OMD. MG OMD was the most awarded media agency again in 2017, and OMD media network of the year. A string of big account wins and holds marked 2013, including the capture of Disney's US media and the expansion of its Hasbro business from 11 countries around the world to 55. As a result of this prowess OMD had regularly featured in most trade publications' round-up of Agency of the Year. It was Adweek's Global Media Agency of the Year once again for 2014, its fourth such win in five years. However life has been a little more difficult since 2015. The $1bn Johnson & Johnson US buying account which formed the cornerstone for that last Adweek accolade departed after just a year, as did the $1bn global Coty account. The global Peugeot Citroen account moved away in 2017.

The group offers a complete range of media services including planning and buying, online and research. It also offers what it calls "asset barter", organised by Omnicom's group subsidiary Icon International. Novus Media is a subsidiary network dedicated to negotiating and buying local print and digital media in the US. Originally a specialist in shifting remnant newspaper ad inventory, it has gradually developed into a more proactive planning and buying agency with particular strengths in direct response or retail-based clients. Also in the US, Resolution Media specialises in search marketing; there are local units in other markets under the OMD Search name. Ignition Factory (in the US) and OMD Ignition (other countries) are "innovation specialists", tasked with developing new techniques for media planning and buying, and there are a number of other specialist units handling services such as sponsorship and branded entertainment (Fuse), sports marketing (Optimum Sports), direct marketing (OMG Direct), experience marketing, interactive (OMD Digital) and econometric modelling (Brand Science). OMD Word is a dedicated social media unit. During 2008, the group launched its Business Intelligence system, a sophisticated data management service which collates local market performance from every territory in which the network operates and makes it available to clients via the company's intranet.

For several years, OMD had been the overall #2 media services brand worldwide by billings. "Mediapalooza" of 2015, in which multiple major advertisers called reviews of their global assignments, left several scars on the network, but main rival Starcom Mediavest was even more badly damaged. Its subsequent break-up by Publicis allowed OMD to regain the #1 spot in 2016. Advertising Age estimated global revenues for OMD of $1.3bn in 2018, including $335m (25% of the total) from the US.

By the end of 2014, OMD operated branded offices in more than 100 countries, handling the planning and buying requirements for all Omnicom's various agencies as well as third party clients. It has six regional offices across the US in addition to the New York HQ. There are also global hubs in London, Paris, Hamburg and Milan where local teams for subsidiary unit OMD International, which handles cross-regional requirements in the region for around 30 larger multinational clients. Although it operates in most key markets, OMD is conspicuous by its absence from a few territories such as Japan (where media is still handled by the local offices of BBDO, DDB and TBWA) and Brazil. Unlike rivals Interpublic, WPP and Publicis, Omnicom initially took the decision to amalgamate virtually all its media activities into a single global entity; PHD was eventually established as a secondary global network since 2005. Also that year, the group established a separate umbrella entity, Omnicom Media Group, to manage the activities of both networks. A third string to the bow was the creation of data-driven media agency Hearts & Science in 2016 to manage the mammoth Procter & Gamble US account.

OMD was formed from the gradual consolidation of what were previously two separate media buying networks, DDB's Optimum Media and BBDO's Media Direction. For many years, these agencies were predominantly media buyers, and the integration of the planning departments of BBDO, DDB and TBWA was only finally completed in 2003. The merging of the two brands has not always been easy. Although most countries now have their own main OMD-branded media shop, there are also a number of sister brands, mostly smaller acquired shops, or specially created splinter agencies designed to bypass client conflicts (or even internal rivalries).

The UK office of OMD was created in 2000, from the merger of the OMD international office with the BMP OMD media department. At first, however, there were also several splinter units, including BMP Solutions in Media (SIM) and Optimum Action, a joint venture with WWAV Rapp Collins Media, which claimed to be the UK’s first brand focused strategic media response company. Both units were subsequently disbanded and merged into the main OMD business. The group also inherited Manning Gottlieb Media, a separate UK-only brand, competing not only with the main OMD outlet, but also with PHD. It too adopted the OMD tag in 2002, becoming Manning Gottlieb OMD, and continues to operate separately from the main agency. It is now the bigger of the two units, accounting for over half of UK billings. Another standalone unit is M2M, originally a specialist in fashion and beauty accounts but now handling more generalist accounts as well. Until 2003, Manning Gottlieb was also the parent for The Allmond Partnership, established in 1998 to handle the BT account. TAP bought itself out of Omnicom to go fully independent in 2003, but later closed following the loss of its flagship client.

Omnicom took its first steps towards creating a media-negotiating giant equivalent to Interpublic's Magna Global and WPP's Group M in 2004 when it pooled media negotiation in the UK for OMD, Manning Gottlieb OMD and PHD into new unit OPera. There is also an important relationship with independent communications planning agency Goodstuff, run by two former directors of MG OMD. In the UK, OMD Group ranked as the local #2 agency in 2016 with billings estimated by Nielsen (in Campaign) at £988m. Key clients that year included McDonald's, Virgin Media, Boots and Apple.

OMD Germany is also an umbrella for several different units. By late 2000, nine separate divisions shared the OMD umbrella brand there, each aligned with a different creative agency. These have been gradually consolidated, but still today there are several separate brands in addition to regional offices. These are the main OMD brand in Duesseldorf and Berlin, GFMO OMD in Hamburg (previously owned by Daimler) and Munich-based Heye OMD, a joint venture with DDB-affiliated Heye & Partners. Among other advantages this allows the group to handle local media in separate offices for both rival French carmakers Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroen. There are also separate Omnicom Media Group-branded units offering shared services to both OMD and PHD.

Until 2002 the US OMD also had separate divisions, designed to minimise internal and external conflicts. These were largely planned along the old agency framework, with Optimum Media OMD for DDB clients, and Media Direction OMD for BBDO clients. Third arm TBWA OMD was created specifically to handle the Nissan account and gradually took on work for TBWA's portfolio in general. Finally these divisions were consolidated into one entity in 2002. A separate unit was split out in 2005 under the name Prometheus to handle media for three major group clients, Dell, JC Penney and Cars.com. However the Dell account was later lost and Penney transferred into the main OMD network. Prometheus was shuttered as a result. In Canada, some work is still handle through the local offices of BBDO. Optimum Sports is a satellite unit working alongside OMD USA on sports marketing and media.


Omnicom Media Group is responsible for management of both OMD and PHD. It is headed by chairman & CEO Daryl Simm, with Mark Amabile as CFO. Regional heads of Omnicom Media Group are Mike Cooper (CEO, EMEA & Asia Pacific from 2019), Page Thompson (CEO, North America) and Julian Porras (CEO, OMG & OMD Latin America).

Mainardo de Nardis, former head of Aegis Media, became OMD's global CEO in 2009. However the group made a number of major changes to the network in mid-2017, not least the transfer of its global HQ from New York to London. At the same time, de Nardis moved up to become executive vice chairman of umbrella Omnicom Media Group, and was succeeded as CEO of OMD by Florian Adamski, previously head of Omnicom's media operations in Germany. Back in New York, OMD US leader Monica Karo moved up to the role of chief global client officer, and was succeeded as CEO, USA, by John Osborn, formerly CEO of BBDO New York.

Other senior executives include Andrew Lazzaro (chief brand officer), Barry Cupples (CEO, investment), Jennifer Razor (global business development officer) and Johan Boserup (chief trading & accountability officer). Other local heads include Nikki Mendonca (CEO, OMD EMEA), Julian Porras (CEO, Latin America) and Steve Blakeman (CEO, OMD Asia Pacific).


OMD is the end result of several years of consolidation among the various media arms of agencies within Omnicom's global agency network. As a global media agency, OMD was something of a work in progress until March 2000 when Omnicom finally established a US outpost for it. Previously, the rollout of the brand had been taken slowly to avoid generating conflicts within the group and with clients. The first OMD office opened in France in 1981, with the separation of BBDO and DDB's media accounts from the main agencies and their merger under a single umbrella. In most countries separate media agencies were formed, with Optimum Media representing DDB clients and Media Direction representing BBDO.

Denmark joined the OMD club in 1992, Finland in 1996, Italy and Austria in 1997. The pace of consolidation increased in 1998 and 1999. By late 2000, virtually all BBDO and DDB's regional media buying duties had been consolidated under the OMD umbrella, even though in many cases this served only as a superficial parent for separate teams operating as Optimum OMD and Media Direction OMD. At the same time, media planning was often still handled separately within the main agencies. Also in 2000 Nissan centralised its media worldwide with Omnicom, following the agreed tie-up between TBWA and Hakuhodo to handle the worldwide creative account. This led to the creation of TBWA.OMD, a separate division of OMD, which handled only Nissan business.

At the time, DDB and BBDO were also shareholders in The Media Partnership, a joint venture with WPP's JWT and O&M. Formed in 1989, TMP was operational in 12 European territories in mid 1999. However the agency always had a complicated structure, with each agency's respective shareholding varying from country to country. The network was gradually shut down by 2000, leaving only a handful of operations, most of which have since been absorbed into either Mindshare or OMD.

PHD Network was spun out as a separate US media division in 2000, following the creation of the OMD US office. However, for the most part OMD remained primarily a buying agency for inhouse clients of Omnicom's three agency networks. In late 2001 the group finally announced plans to make OMD a full-service media operation, bolstering its strategic planning capabilities, and promising to start pitching for media-only accounts from 2002. Early that year the agency formally took over all responsibility for media research, planning and buying from BBDO, DDB and TBWA, although some strategic planning was retained by the creative agencies.

The group spun out two satellite businesses in 2002: OMD Connect to form relationships with multicultural agencies in the US; and OMD Concepts, a multimedia cross-platform marketing and content development unit.

Last full revision 26th September 2018

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