Burger King sheds MediaVest for small fry

Sep 3, 2001  •  Post A Comment

In a major shift away from the trend that bigger means more clout, Burger King is shifting its $65 million cable TV buying account from agency giant MediaVest to small, independent Media First International, New York.
Media First International was founded in 1992 by former J. Walter Thompson media maven Richard Kostyra. Mr. Kostyra could not be reached late Friday.
But news of the shift spread like wildfire in the insular world of ad-supported cable-TV networks late last week.
“The way I understand it, Richard sold them on the fact that with the proliferation of cable channels it’s no longer the smartest thing just looking for the best deal, moneywise,” one cable network sales executive said. “Richard, by being a smaller shop, can be more strategic and such.”
Said another cable sales TV executive at a major network: “I for one really applaud this move, and we’re going to bend over backward to try and do some interesting, out-of-the-box things with Burger King, if they are so inclined. From my point of view, the mega-buying agency thing has been a disaster. You have an historic [cost per thousand] with one client, and then another client, who has a higher CPM, starts beating you up, because both clients have the same mega-agency, and they find out about the cheaper deal. It’s made my life a lot more difficult.”
Besides a strong pitch, another reason Media First landed the account is that Mr. Kostyra has a relationship with Burger King’s current chief marketing officer, Chris Clouser. Media First’s initial client back in 1992 was Northwest Airlines (still a client with the buying agency). Mr. Clouser was a top executive with Northwest at the time.