With a push from parent Publicis Groupe, Zenith Media has made a Hollywood debut. After reaching the finals but failing to win Sony and Disney studio reviews in the last two years, Zenith landed Miramax Film's $180 million-plus account last week.
Publicis CEO Maurice Lévy introduced Rich Hamilton, CEO of ZenithOptimedia Group Americas, to Miramax Studios COO Rich Sands in late 2002, which led to the studio awarding the assignment without a review. Miramax works with Publicis shops in France, and Sands said he is "very, very comfortable with the Publicis Groupe overall."
Earlier this year Miramax gave Hamilton's team, which included president of national broadcast Peggy Green, a project buy for Chicago and Gangs of New York, but that effort was aborted to avoid conflict with buys by incumbent Palisades Media Group, Santa Monica, Calif.
"This was no easy get for these guys," said Sands. "They had to pitch. [But] their presentation was fabulous. They demonstrated acumen in market research, trends, media buying power and flexibility."
The potential for "synergies" with other clients of the $6 billion agency —which include Verizon and Toyota—was also a factor, Sands said.
Eight of the top 10 U.S. media agencies now handle a major studio. (The only studio not at a media shop is DreamWorks, a client of GSD&M.) "We've been after this category for a very long time," said Hamilton. "We put everything we had into [the Miramax pitch]."