Team One Revamps

Responding to new realities in the market and at $200 million client Lexus that put media planning in the driver’s seat of the strategic process, Team One Advertising has renamed and re aligned its media group and staff.

The El Segundo, Calif., shop has reconfigured its media operations—now called the communications depart ment—to mirror its account planning department. Chiefly, this means a shift in planning emphasis from the brand to the model level.

“The buyer of [Lexus’] IS model is quite different from the GS buyer. … It is tying account planning and strategic media planning together in a process in which media planning actually precedes creative execution,” said Bonnie Chan, Team One’s communications director and architect of the new-look media group.

“Our business has become very complex,” said Steve Sturm, vp of marketing for the Toyota division of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., which owns Lexus. “The ability to manage media portfolios among all these sub-brands is extremely important. We’ve done [similar restructuring] here.”

Similar changes have been made in the past year at a number of global media agencies, which now often call themselves “communications agencies.” Initiative Media North Ame rica, for example, combined account service and planning in 2000.

Chan said the concept reflects media’s vastly increased responsibility to connect to consumers via such new vehicles as the Internet, wireless devices and personal video recorders. Also echoing a theme on the media agency side, she said the physical changes are accompanied by conceptual ones in what constitutes a media professional today.

“I recently interviewed someone with a public relations background,” she said. “In the past, I probably wouldn’t have done that. … But with communications planning, we see it as a strength. We now want people who are curious about things and willing to support unproven positions.”