Last week, Western Initiative Media Worldwide combined its account-service and media-planning departments in the United States.
The move is a result of "Western 2000," a series of initiatives the agency began in late 1999 to re-engineer the agency into a client-focused media strategist, without sacrificing its heritage as the first media-buying service.
"This is just the beginning," promised Mike Lotito, president and chief operating officer of
Western, about the changes. In an internal memo to Western staff, Lotito explained the need to create a structure "conducive to delivering the level of strategic advice and counsel that 21st century clients are likely to require. ... All of our account management and planning personnel will be cross-trained to create a team of true media strategy/planning/implementation managers ... responsible for strategy development, media planning, implementation management and client profitability."
Other elements of Western 2000 include a new brand positioning for the shop, which may include a name change; an increased emphasis on training through Western's in-house media-training "school," WIM University; and the introduction of new systems and tools, including some from Western Initiative Europe.