MediaEdge:cia Faces New, More Powerful Consumers

Cheerio! The dynamic British duo of Charles Courtier and Andrew McLean of MediaEdge:cia spoke at the 2005 AdForum Summit in New York, focusing on their agency's efficient methods of engaging the new kind of consumer: one with choices, power, and a higher level of interactivity than the consumer of yesteryear.

MediaEdge:cia, part of the global WPP Group 'M' along with several other sister agencies, has found full use of its worldwide network to cut costs where it matters. According to Courtier, MediaEdge:cia's Executive Chairman, they have found efficiencies by eliminating redundancies. "There are tremendous cost savings by not having to do something 3 times," he said. Because of certain integrated processes within WPP, MediaEdge:cia can offer its clients a global coordinated effort coupled with localized attention. "If its in the benefit of our client, we can wield the entire Group M in coordination," Courtier said further. "However, each agency is still an individual company."

As a result, the agency has seen an increase in global pitches and its Group M parent has been placed among the highest of RECMA scores in terms of vitality. However, at the end of the day its the production that counts. According to McLean, who is MediaEdge:cia's chief global client officer, the agency is producing global strategy but run by local people. "You have to be best-in-class locally first," he said.

And what has that strategy resulted in? A steady client list boasting such names as Accenture, CitiBank, Canon, Ford, and others. In the consumer-centric focus of today's media agencies, Mediaedge:cia recognizes that efficiency must also be accompanied by a shift from the non-traditional. "Our goal was to be broader than a media agency," McLean explained. "To move beyond the traditional has helped us improve in a vast array of services."

Through active engagement, MediaEdge:cia seeks to make consumer do something rather than just receiving a message like before. "Today's new consumer has many choices and therefore many touchpoints, and power is in their hands," Courtier said.

Some examples where this has paid off are: A contest promotion for Campbell's Soup that was integrated into a popular TV show and led to a dramatic increase in sales; and the Coditin flu medicine in the Latin American market, whose promotional campaign led to a 500% increase in sales through the use of in-store props.

"It's all about the work," McLean emphasized. "That's what differentiates us from the other guys!"