By Abbey Klaassen
Starcom MediaVest Group is changing up the top ranks at MediaVest USA, appointing veteran Brian Terkelsen, the agency’s longtime content-creation guru to the CEO post. Bill Tucker is moving into a SMG-wide role of president-global client operations.
The move, according to SMG CEO Laura Desmond, points to the importance of content and partnerships in the future of marketing.
"Media and communications is radically changing and the big pivot point for the next three to five years will be around data-driven marketing, content and working holistically with partners and clients to design experiences that consumers want to participate in," she told Ad Age in an interview. "Brian weaves together … a keen sense of how to create partnerships and deals, mastery of content and an understanding that it’s [both] traditional and nontraditional messaging."
She praised his "marketing instincts and client relationships."
Mr. Terkelsen cuts a public figure in the entertainment world, having come to MediaVest in 2003 to head up branded entertainment. In 2010 that group morphed in a division called Liquid Thread, which headed up content creation.
These types of content-creation divisions have generally been an emerging business for media agencies. At times it has been difficult to get clients to invest in them, however, there are signs clients are becoming more interested in these types of offerings. For media agencies, content creation is an important business driver because they tend to have higher margins than traditional buying.
At MediaVest, Mr. Terkelsen did high-profile deals with "America’s Next Top Model" for Procter & Gamble’s Cover Girl and was behind many of the high-profile brand integrations for Microsoft’s Bing. More recently, his group spearheaded Kraft’s Wheat Thins brand’s appearance on "The Colbert Report" and was involved with Coca-Cola’s Polar Bowl second-screen experience. Mr. Terkelsen was a former production partner of Mark Burnett in Mr. Burnett’s earlier days.
For Mr. Terkelsen, the move means transitioning from a global role that had him trotting around the world doing deals for MediaVest clients to a U.S.-focused role. And for Mr. Tucker, it means quite the opposite.
Ms. Desmond said that as SMG has won significant pieces of global business it needed senior leaders organizing around and working with clients globally.
"Bill’s family’s a little older, his ability to travel is a bit greater," said Ms. Desmond. "And his background is client services. He took our Kraft relationship from U.S.-based to having about 70% of its business globally." Mr. Tucker headed the agency’s client-service group before becoming CEO.
SMG won all of Heineken’s global media-planning and -buying business in May in a shootout with Mindshare; prior to the win MediaVest had handled the brewer in the U.S. as well as several other markets, essentially splitting the business with Mindshare. Late last year it won a Novartis review and today handles the pharma company’s business in about 80 markets. Additionally, Ms. Desmond points out that several U.S. clients, such as Mars and Kraft, have grown to substantial global ones. Kraft, of course, is splitting into two companies — a grocery business focused on North America and a global business focused on snacks.
As part of today’s moves, SMG also named Matt Blackborn exec VP-emerging markets at SMG. Previously he was exec VP-executive director of global client operations. He has also previously served as CEO of SMG’s MENA operation and as the agency’s global lead on Samsung, building an 85-plus market network for the client.