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:

Initiative website

Worldwide

Initiative UK Initiative Germany
Initiative Australia Initiative Netherlands
Initiative Czech Republic Initiative Russia
Initiative South Africa Initiative Romania

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Mediabrands

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

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.

Adbrands Weekly Update 26th Nov 2015: As rumoured last week, Unilever has indeed concluded its global media review, reappointing the incumbents without any significant changes. Main account holder Mindshare retains all its current markets, but added some Eastern European countries previously managed by PHD. However, the latter retained China and Initiative kept hold of Russia (and also Greece). PHD had already been awarded Australia and New Zealand during the summer, while Initiative's Latin American assignments were not under review.

Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Apr 2015: Tesco confirmed plans to move its substantial media account to MediaCom after more than two decades at Initiative. That move seemed virtually inevitable once Tesco announced the pitch list, pitting the UK's biggest and best media agency against one of the weakest. The loss is a serious blow to Initiative: Tesco was its biggest client by far. It was MediaCom's second big win this week, following on from its capture of the Subway restaurant business across the Asia Pacific region.

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