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Reprise Media Expands Overseas

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Search engine marketing shop Reprise Media, a unit of IPG's Mediabrands, is going global.

Effective today, Reprise, whose clients include Microsoft, Home Depot and Hyundai, is opening its first overseas offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid and Sydney.

Throughout the coming year, additional offices will be opened in markets including Italy, the Netherlands, Chile, Columbia, China, Denmark, Japan, India, South Korea, Poland, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Portugal.

The move comes as Mediabrands Ventures welcomes Matt Freeman as chief executive. Freeman is the former CEO of Tribal DDB and Betawave. His mission is to oversee and help grow a portfolio of digital and specialized services -- including Reprise, ad network Cadreon and mobile marketer Ansible.

According to Tara Comonte, COO and CFO at Mediabrands, the Reprise expansion has been in the works for nine months.

Reprise's proprietary platform was developed to create, manage and measure search-marketing campaigns from a single interface. With the international expansion, Reprise technology will give each global office access to the same suite of tools that can be customized to include local features such as language, currency, characters (for Asian languages) and search engine data.

IPG purchased Reprise in 2007. The shop has been under Mediabrands' purview for the past year, and "our focus was initially on the U.S.," Comonte said.

Freeman said Reprise is actively seeking a new CEO.

Up until recently, the two founders and managing partners, Peter Hershberg and Joshua Stylman, had continued to run the firm. But Mediabrands confirmed that the pair left, and that the unit is being run on a day-to-day basis by Joel Lapp, evp, product management, and Rick Corteville, evp, director of strategic marketing technologies. Both will now report to Comonte and Freeman.

Added Comonte: "We've invested significant amounts of capital in technology, process, training and people to be able to roll this out as a robust, truly global capability." As part of that effort, some U.S. staffers have been deployed overseas.

Comonte said the expansion would serve both global marketers and single-market clients.

A number of charter global clients have signed on for the expanded offering, she said, declining to name them pending their approval. "We've got some significant global clients who quite rightly expect us to be able to deliver a consistent search offer across the world for them, but the opportunity for us is equally important at the local-market level," she said.

Comonte wouldn't rule out future acquisitions of existing search engine firms to bolster operations if the need or opportunity arose. But consistency was the strategic goal of expanding the existing Reprise platform globally, she said.

"A global client knows what they get in every market and can roll up, which is hugely important." Otherwise, she said, "you end up with a mixed bag of assets and talent and inconsistent processes and tool sets and technology."