Publicis, Optimedia Launch Strategic Unit

NEW YORK Publicis USA and its media agency unit Optimedia have launched Optimedia Inside, a new joint venture designed to offer clients “media-neutral strategic solutions” for their marketing plans and to get media involved earlier in the development process.

The basic idea is to set up a unit that most easily allows Publicis clients to access (for extra fees) the communications planning tools and insights that Optimedia has developed over the past couple of years. While Publicis has significantly expanded its own strategic planning offering during that time, it’s focus has been more on how consumers perceive brands and brand messages, while the Optimedia offering has focused more on consumers’ changing relationship to and use of media.

Paul Hindle, managing partner of Optimedia Inside New York, heads the new unit. He reports jointly to Mark Hider, evp, director of engagement strategy, Publicis USA, and Antony Young, president, Optimedia U.S.

“Following on the heels of our complete redesign of strategic planning at Publicis USA, this move demonstrates that we are committed to leading the industry in finding new ways to inject more media-neutral thinking into the creative process and putting consumer-driven strategy front and center at Publicis for the benefit of our clients,” said Susan Gianinno, chairman and CEO of Publicis USA.

Young said the new unit is “a true effort to connect media, creative messaging and digital into an organic, idea-led communications platform.”

Young said the Optimedia Inside team would “constantly look for ways to embed media earlier into the strategic channel and creative development process.”

Hider said, “We see media not as a way of distributing an engaging idea but as an integral part of the expression of that idea. We are looking for really differential insights and ideas from the media realm, right from the outset of the development process.”

Optimedia and Pubicis are both part of holding company Publicis Groupe and already consider themselves “strategic partners,” that currently share such clients as T-Mobile, Whirlpool, L’Oreal and Nestle, among others. The new offering will be jointly funded by the two shops (profits will also be shared) and will be available to all interested Publicis clients.

Hindle joins Optimedia Inside from JWT where he was evp and director of channel planning. Previously he was director of strategic planning at OMD. The venutre will be housed at Publicis’ New York office. Some Optimedia staffers are expected to transfer to the venture although the exact number will depend on the extent of interest among Publicis’ roster of clients.