Initiative (US)

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Initiative is the smaller of Interpublic's two media services operations (alongside UM). Formed in 1999 from the merger of Western International and Initiative Media, it was traditionally aligned with the Lowe and FCB agency networks. However performance was undermined by a series of major account losses in the first decade of the 2000s. That steady decline appeared to have been halted by 2009, and morale was boosted by a few important account gains. Nevertheless Initiative remains the smallest of the major global networks, and another set of account losses since 2015 have cast a growing cloud over the network's longterm future. Despite widespread speculation, Interpublic has repeatedly denied any plans to merge its two media brands, but many of their respective network operations as well as several management roles have been consolidated into shared parent IPG Mediabrands, which now represents both agencies in less profitable "world markets". Initiative was ranked by Recma as the #11 media specialist worldwide in 2016 with billings of $15.9bn. 

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Adbrands Company Profiles provide a detailed analysis of the history and current operations of leading advertisers, agencies and brands worldwide, and include a critical summary which identifies key strengths and weaknesses. Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets. Subscribers may access the following website links:

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Initiative UK Initiative Germany
Initiative Australia Initiative Netherlands
Initiative Czech Republic Initiative Russia
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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Nov 2017: Interpublic's Initiative media agency scored an important win with the capture of global media for LEGO, taking over from Carat in most international markets and from Starcom in the US. Despite its position at the bottom of the global media network rankings, Initiative has repeatedly shown its ability to nip in and take steal key assignments from its bigger competitors. The most notable example, was its capture of the global Carlsberg media account earlier this year from OMD.

Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd Nov 2017: Big signs of relief at Interpublic, after Initiative retained Amazon's $1bn global media account following review. Yet that also appears to have resulted in yet another blow for struggling MEC, which appears to have lost its share of the account handling digital media.

Adbrands Weekly Update 31st Aug 2017: Following the loss of several global clients in recent years and the impending review of its biggest remaining international client Amazon, IPG's Initiative network secured a huge morale boost with the capture of brewer Carlsberg's global account. The business will transfer from five year incumbent OMD at the beginning of 2018.

Adbrands Weekly Update 3rd Aug 2017: Amazon is reported to have called a review of what is now its substantial global media budget, creating a major potential challenge to two networks who can ill afford further losses. Current global incumbent for traditional media is Initiative, which won the account four years ago from Mindshare. The latter's sister network MEC retained digital media in North America, and has added other markets over the past couple of years. Over the same period, Amazon's budget has more or less quadrupled to an estimated $1bn a year. As a result it is almost certainly one of Initiative's biggest global accounts, and a key client for MEC which has been nursing a series of other sizeable losses.

Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Jan 2016: Interpublic announced the merger of its local media agency M2 into sister Initiative. UM will continue to operate separately. The closure of M2 follows IPG's recent acquisition of indie Media Experts, which will continue to operate as a standalone unit focused mainly on local rather than international clients.

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