In Depth

4th Quarter Scatter Soft; Media Agency Chief Steps Down; More

.In today's Media Planner e-newsletter:

4th Quarter Scatter Soft

MEC's CEO Steps Down

Premium Beverage Maker in Direct Selling Arena Creates In-House Agency

We begin with a story about 4th quarter scatter:

The buying of national advertising time on TV that was not purchased during the upfront marketplace last spring and early summer is down this 4th quarter compared to a year ago, reports our good friend Wayne Friedman at MediaPost's MediaDailyNews.

The buying that's done close to airdate and after the upfront is over is called the scatter markeplace. This "scatter market pricing appears to be mostly flat to soft -- in terms of pricing and dollar volume -- say media executives," Friedman writes.

The article adds, " 'There is less scatter volume because everyone is better sold,' says one senior cable advertising sales executive. Broadcast networks sold upwards of 80% of their inventory of commercials, generally higher than in previous upfront markets. This executive believes overall scatter volume in the fourth quarter will probably be down 20% versus the same time period of a year ago.'There is not a lot of money working," says another veteran media agency executive. 'Money moved forward, into the upfront market.' "#

LEE DOYLE STEPS DOWN AS CEO OF GROUP M MEDIA SHOP MEC

By Alexandra Bruell
Advertising Age

Lee Doyle is stepping down from his role as CEO of North America at MEC. The executive, who joined the agency 12 years ago, will take on a new and yet-to-be-announced role within Group M, the company said in a statement.

Mr. Doyle told Ad Age: "It was a mutual decision in the midst of looking ahead at what 2012 has in store and what I think the agency needs. I'm pretty proud of where we've gotten so far, but there's a need for different leadership as we go forward. It's time to set a new vision for North America."

It has been a rocky year for the WPP-owned shop. Its Toys 'R' Us and Novartis accounts are currently up for bid. This year, parted ways with Activision and with Pizza Hut. Looking forward, it's likely doing everything in its power to hold onto telecom giant AT&T throughout the brand's acquisition of T-Mobile -- the firm recently hired Dennis Donlin from Mediabrands to lead the account.

During the Toys 'R' Us review, Mr. Doyle told Ad Age that the agency was growing some of its business organically but "big new business wins are fewer and farther between."

"Oddly enough, since we last spoke the pipeline has gotten very full with prospects," he said during the most recent call. "We have as many as we can handle. Now we just need to see it through. Filling the pipeline is not the challenge."

With regard to the recent announcement, he said that when he stepped into the CEO role in the first quarter of 2007, the agency had clear global objectives. "My role was much more about executing that vision," he said. "Now I think it's time to set a new vision."

He said that he and the team haven't begun to discuss what his new role within Group M might look like.

Charles Courtier, global CEO for MEC, and Rob Norman, CEO for Group M North America, will take on management responsibility for the MEC North American operations until the new CEO is found.

Mr. Courtier commented in the statement: "Lee has been hugely influential at MEC as CEO for the last four years, and since he joined the company in 1999. Under his tenure the agency has grown by 40%, a stunning achievement. But it's not goodbye -- Lee is committed to the Group and vice versa -- we will see him in a new role soon."#

MonaVie Announces the Launch of Its Own In-House Marketing Agency, MonaVie Ink Inc.

That's the headline of an interesting press release we've received. MonaVie is in the direct selling business and is probably best known for its drinks that contain acai berry.

According to the announcement, "MonaVie, a global leader in premium nutrition products made from the rarest ingredients in the world, today announced the launch of MonaVie Ink Inc., the [direct selling] industry’s first in-house, full-service marketing and advertising agency, which will spearhead the mission of extending the Company’s unique brand and message of Community CommerceSM around the globe."

The release contines, quoting MonaVie's chief markteting officer, Jeff Cohen: "MonaVie 2.0 will include a revolutionary approach to the Company’s product line, as well as a worldwide, MonaVie-facilitated business building and training solution designed by distributors for distributors, known as MVP (MonaVie Values People). Never before in the direct selling industry has a company partnered more closely with distributors to create a universal system to grow their business on a global scale."

Previously MonaVie has used various agencies on a project-by-project basis. It has had no agency of record, according to a MonaVie spokesman.#