Starcom B+


Billings and estimated revenue up 13% to $4.3 billion and $140 million, respectively. Lower productivity ratio pulls down grade. Wins totaled more than $500 million in billings, including Lego and, with sibling Leo Burnett, Polaroid and the U.S. Army. Only loss of significance was Motor ola’s semiconductor business.


Simply put, Adweek’s first Media Agency of the Year has the most buttoned-down management in the business, and it shows in the shop’s almost uncanny ability to woo, win and keep clients. Case in point: With its Starcom MediaVest Group sister MediaVest, Starcom won General Motors’ $2.9 billion planning account the largest in history. Agency head Jack Klues, considered among the best in his field, moved on to run SMG, passing leadership to highly regarded veteran Renetta McCann. Plus, the agency’s training programs are the envy of the industry.


Starcom brands on its strategic ability. Even its clients point to the agency’s data-based approach as critical to its success, not just for winning new business but for servicing the accounts it already has.


Again, an agency this size almost by definition can buy efficiently and effectively. Starcom buys the way it does everything else: very well, and with a minimum of fuss.


Starcom MediaVest Group was born in 2000, and until MediaVest won Kraft Foods at the end of the year, it was Starcom that got most of the press. And deservedly so: With rare unanimity, media-agency executives point to Starcom as the standard of excellence in the industry. Its rivals mar vel at its ability to bring its A game to every facet of the business: winning and keeping clients, research, strategic counsel. Starcom has no weak points. However, competitors are rapidly improving their own operations and competitive positioning, and the gap figures to narrow in 2001.