Blog Post

Mediabrands’ Latest Reorg Moves Freeman To McCann

Four months after moving Universal-McCann’s Matt Seiler into the CEO position at Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands unit, Matt Freeman will shift from his role as Mediabrands Ventures’ CEO over to McCann Erickson. Freeman will take on the newly-created post of Vice-Chairman, Global Chief Innovation Officer and will report to McCann CEO Nick Brien. Interestingly, Brien was the founding head of Mediabrands and had left the unit over a year ago to run McCann.

Mediabrands, which was formed in July ’08 as IPG’s media buying and digital services hub, has added a number of high-profile executives over the past few months.

After joining the company late last summer, former Publicis Groupe exec Tim Hanlon was named CEO of Mediabrands’ investment arm Velociter (fka Greenhaus). More recently, another media buying veteran, Sean Finnegan, left Publicis to become CEO of Mediabrands’ hyperlocal unit, Geomentum.

In a statement, Seiler said that the new changes reflect Mediabrands’ move to a “cluster” structure, which involves the formation of three different “benefit bundles” will be based offering customized services to clients through media agencies Universal McCann and Initiative.

By shifting Freeman over to McCann, the company wants to tie the Mediabrands Ventures services to one of its largest agencies.

In terms of rounding out Mediabrands’ functions, a rep for the company provided an outline:

The IPG LAB will play an increased role at Mediabrands by helping clients vet offerings and tailor services to meet business needs.
— The IPG Media Lab has been the catalyst for the development of several Mediabrands units; namely the retail-focused Shopper Sciences, Velociter, and is credited with IPG’s work in API-based ads.
— Mediabrands will increase its investment in the development of TAP (The Audience Platform), which is the evolution of the Cadreon audience exchange. As part of the evolution, Cadreon will work closer with Reprise Media.
— To further support UM and Initiative, the Mediabrands operating units, that were once inside Mediabrands Ventures, will now be organized into three “bundles,” based on the “service commonalities” they offer clients.
— The three bundles will be organized in the following manner:
–“one-to-one” for units directly impacting individuals
— “one-to-some” for units doing hyper-local, local or regional communications
— “one-to-most” for those reaching national and international audiences.

Freeman’s “redeployment” to McCann Erickson will be to help “shape an offering that is fully responsive to the range of opportunities available to marketers in this digital age,” according to McCann Worldgroup Chairman and CEO Nick Brien

— Freeman’s new responsibilities will include “harnessing the network’s digital offering, building new digital capabilities to meet the evolving needs of clients and forging partnerships that will enable new revenue streams and exclusive opportunities for McCann Worldgroup clients.”

Freeman joined IPG in January 2010 and was credited with helping launch Mediabrands’ hyperlocal, retail and mobile marketing efforts. Before becoming CEO of Mediabrands Ventures, Freeman was CEO of VC-backed digital media startup Betawave and was the founder and CEO of Omnicom Group’s Tribal DDB Worldwide, one of the earliest interactive agencies at a major ad holding company. Many had speculated that Freeman would ultimately be chosen to succeed Brien at the head of Mediabrands proper, but last January, that job went to Seiler.

In a statement, Freeman said of his new post: “The chance to partner with Nick and [Chief Creative Officer Linus Karlsson] and to help write the next chapter of McCann Erickson was simply too exciting to ignore. As the cycles of innovation in media and marketing have become more rapid, agencies have the opportunity to address a much broader set of business challenges for clients.”