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Alexander Schmidt-Vogel

Report by Alexander Schmidt-Vogel

Chairman and chief executive officer

Last year we reported that MediaCom had completed its most successful year ever. Current clients were significantly expanding their business with us, and new clients were being attracted to MediaCom in record numbers. Revenue was at an all-time high.

We stated then that we felt we had set the right building blocks in 2006 to continue with this tremendous growth. 2007 has proven us right.

2007 saw MediaCom attracting new blue-chip clients such as Dell, Glaceau, Burger King, ICI Paints, WBD in Russia, Unicom in China, MTN in Africa, and EOS Airlines, as well as expanding our current client relationships with clients such as Volkswagen, GSK, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Staples, Michelin, Boots and Sky. In total, we saw a 40% increase of net new business wins versus our already record-breaking year in 2006.

RECMA paid tribute to our new business prowess in their 2007 Compitches (Pitches & Competitiveness) Report, published January 2008. In the report, MediaCom was a close second place behind our sister agency Mediaedge:cia, with the second-highest number of A+ and A scores for our local offices. When looking at the average scores per agency (total global score divided by number of offices), MediaCom was in first place among the truly global networks.

MediaCom has always prided itself on its close relationships with its clients. We work hard to understand the dynamics and challenges that our clients are facing, and to anticipate their needs as their markets and the media landscape evolve. Our 2007 success with our clients and new business wins stems a great deal from our deep insights into clients' business needs, which are manifested in our Real World Architecture (RWA) approach.

Real World Architecture methodically and rigorously places business objectives at the beginning of each and every plan that we create. It's not enough for us to simply achieve typical media measurements such as awareness: we aim to grow clients' sales. We know that our business-oriented approach brings real, positive business results for our clients, and we are constantly searching to achieve more for our clients.

Real World Architecture also puts a premium on understanding consumers – putting "people first" – to better grow brands. In 2007, we enhanced our RWA process through the introduction and roll-out of Real World Street (RWS). RWS gives MediaCom's clients and planners a unique and accessible resource to monitor real consumers, by having the entire residents of an average street in an average city be a part of our exclusive, MediaCom-led and managed qualitative panel. Through the relationship we build with 'our street' over time, we gain very deep insight into consumers' decision-making and habits – and give our clients a key success factor for growing their business.

Digital media, of course, continues its increasing involvement with consumers' lives, not to mention their wallets. MediaCom has one of the strongest digital offerings in the business. In 2007, we relaunched our digital offering globally under the Beyond Interaction (BI) brand name. Already one of the largest players in the digital business, we invested again heavily in both digital technology and human capital. Under the direction of BI's CEO Harvey Goldhersz, our leadership grew tremendously, with new regional leaders appointed around the world.

At the same time, new functional leaders took the helm of diverse areas such as word-of-mouth, mobile, performance marketing, search, database marketing and technology in 2007, and used BI's rigorous training program to ensure that best practices and functional knowledge was quickly disseminated throughout the BI network. A special investment area in 2007 was our mobile capabilities, which we see as the next future of communication. Through the holistic integration of BI's digital capabilities in our 'classic' media divisions, we ensure business-building seamless communication in today's Age of Dialogue.

External and internal client awards prove our approach and our work is winning. We love to win internal awards from our clients for our work, a clear sign to us that we are helping our clients achieve their business goals. In 2007, clients such as P&G, Gillette and VW awarded MediaCom with internal recognition and honors. In addition, we won the top media award from our own parent company, in WPP's WPPed Cream awards, as well as winning a myriad of external awards throughout the world.

We achieved much in 2007. But through targeted investments in talent, future-thinking research, technology initiatives, systematic development of our specialist divisions, and – above all – our strategy to contribute to our clients' business success, we plan to keep on winning in 2008.