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Charles Courtier

Report by Charles Courtier

Chief executive officer

2007 was the most successful year to date for Mediaedge:cia (MEC). And this success was confirmed again when we were named 2007 Global Media Agency of the Year by both Advertising Age and Adweek, for the second year running and repeating the awards of 2006.

This is an extraordinary accolade for MEC and it is ultimately owned by our 4,500 people who continue to deliver exceptional thinking and ideas, and to all our clients who work alongside us, all around the world. These awards belong to them.

The outstanding growth we have shown in 2007 is due to a number of factors. Our performance in growing existing clients and new business has been exemplary. Our new business wins included “life changing' clients in several markets but particularly AT&T in the US and the Sony Corporation across Asia Pacific. We also continued to grow and consolidate our existing clients around the network, expanding our remit from regional to global for clients such as Energizer, Fortis, Michelin,, Novartis and Paramount. In addition to this, we capitalised on the momentum in some key growth markets: Asia Pacific in general; China and India in particular; UK, Russia and Mexico; and delivered outstanding performances in all of these geographies.

Growth also came from continuing to build our network. In Austria we acquired MediaX; in Romania we merged the WPP agency Media Insight into the network; and we took our first foray into Central Asia, creating a partnership that opens doors to MEC offices across the region.

But the fastest-growing part of MEC continues to be through our diversified services – and particularly our digital, sport and entertainment capabilities. MEC Interaction continues to expand, innovate and develop in leaps and bounds delivering a full service digital capability at the heart of the MEC proposition.

In 2007 we merged the resources and people of all our sport, entertainment and cause marketing businesses around the world into one offer, MEC Access, the first global one-stop shop for the creation and delivery of strategic partnerships and sponsorships. With over 350 specialised staff in 30 countries we, as MEC Access, offer clients genuine impartial, rights-free advice.

And we continue to innovate. Following the launch in the US, we rolled out MEC Retail in Europe – a dedicated consultancy offering clients specialised in-store and retail communication services. As MEC Retail continues to develop we are starting to genuinely break new ground in the understanding and value of the retail space as a channel of communication.

Investing in talent development and recruitment remains a priority and challenge for all our businesses. In the end, it is our people that produce the success we've seen and we are lucky that we have maintained a strong and stable management across all key positions.

It's these people, working throughout our network that have produced work that has consistently been rewarded with leading industry recognition. We were named Agency of the Year in Asia Pacific, Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, twice in the UK (Campaign and Marketing), and in the US we were both Adweek's US Media Agency of the Year and OMMA's 'Best Interactive Agency' for MEC Interaction. To round it off, MEC retained the No.1 position in RECMA's Compitches (Pitches & Competitiveness) Report.

This kind of growth and recognition does not happen by accident. We have successfully defined the changes in the marketplace and adapted our business model accordingly. Equally we have GroupM's physical and intellectual scale around the world which supports our development and delivery in the competitive marketplace.

The consumer remains clearly positioned at the heart of our business and their Active Engagement with our clients' brands and communication channels is our core objective.

Looking ahead, clients need us to deliver a genuinely holistic view of their media communications. To that end, our priority must be the integration of our capabilities; with digital touching everything, underpinned by insight and ROI and communications planning drawing the strategic picture.

Mediaedge:cia had a terrific 2007. But change is still gathering pace and we have to keep moving. This challenge of integration will be key for 2008.