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Doner's Media Plan May Work

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Win Over Media Heavies a 'Watershed' for Shop, Top Exec Says
DETROIT--Doner's win of May Department Stores' $100 million media account was an affirmation of the shop's strategy to strengthen its media unit with top talent like Fred Sattler and marks a "watershed" in the agency's efforts to be considered for large media jobs, the shop's top executive said.
"This absolutely is part of the grand plan," Doner chairman and chief executive officer Alan Kalter said. "A decision was made a year ago that we wanted to build a media resource that could compete at the highest level."
While Kalter said there are no plans to create a separate, media-only unit like Leo Burnett's Starcom, he compared Doner's strategy to a successful one employed by GSD&M in Austin, Texas, which has become a major competitor for media's largest players.
"If GSD&M can do it, we can do it," Kalter said. "I think what GSD&M has done is shown that an agency roughly our size can compete with the monolithic, huge, global buying services and beat them. I think they've done a hell of a job."
Doner, Southfield, Mich., beat out two heavy hitters for May's media account, which it added to the creative assignment for the department store chain it's had since 1998. May, St. Louis, chose Doner over The Glennon Co., St. Louis, partnered with Carat North America; Janik & Associates, a Los Angeles agency that pitched with with CIA Medianetwork; and Ward Communications, Dallas. May operates 422 department stores in 36 states and Washington, D.C.
Competitors made three presentations. For the final meeting, May executives spent a day at each agency and spoke with nearly every member of each agency's media department.
Doner's efforts were led by Sattler, who joined the shop last fall as executive vice president/executive media director from TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif. Sattler was given the "breathing room and the financial wherewithal to create a team that was ready to go do that," Kalter said.
Sattler said media clients seem to be looking with renewed interest at the full-service agencies. "The person who should get the assignment is the one who best understands the client's business," he said. "And I think also, the fact that we are a creatively driven shop, we have a credibility and a vocabulary to be able to talk to the whole strategic development and creative development aspects." K