TN Media C-


Billings and estimated revenue up 3% to $5.4 billion and $81 million, respectively. Won big with Samsung and Compaq (via FCB). Lost Dockers, Payless, International House of Pancakes and Kraft assignments.


Churn at the top in 2000. Worldwide media chief Mike Drexler left, as did president Fred Wray. Neil Miller was named the agency’s first COO, and Scot Butler, a former FCB media executive, became president. He sought to change the agency’s image as a buying-only arm of True North, plotting a course to reshape TN Media into a full-media specialist. Plans included combining the agency and its sister media arm, FCB Media, into a new planning and buying entity called Pervasive Media. Though the scheduled launch of the new entity and the name change in the first quarter of 2001 did not materialize, Butler has been asked by True North CEO David Bell to suggest ways the agency can become more competitive following True North’s purchase by IPG.


Primarily a buying operation that serves sister agencies Bozell and Temerlin McClain and does some buying for True North’s FCB. FCB Media does the lion’s share of planning for FCB clients and at least half of the buying. As with OMD, it is hard to grade the shop on something it does not do often.


TN Media is not nimble but is big enough to negotiate effectively. It will not come up with out-of-the-box ideas often, but its spots air, and it has clout where clients need it.


TN Media is in wait-and-see mode as the pending sale of parent True North to IPG puts the media agency’s repositioning plans on hold for now. Most TN Media staffers seem to welcome the change, as IPG has a history of leaving its companies a fair degree of autonomy. Without its own identity and a full spectrum of services that includes both planning and buying, the agency is unlikely to become a real player.