International Communications Group
Andrew Butcher likes the advertising business here, especially when he compares it to the ad game in his native Britain almost a generation ago.
In London, where Butcher got his start at age 19, rewards were often based on years in the business. Here, he says, it’s based on one thing: merit.
“The big difference here in America was that your performance and how hard you worked was what counted, whereas over there it was your age and number of years with the company,” he said.
But the global market has changed all that, he said, to where merit also rules in Britain and the “industry operates the same in both places now.”
And one thing is almost constant change.
Butcher is chairman and CEO of International Communications Group, the media buyer which he co-founded in 1979 with partners Bruce Milner and John Record.
But ICG is no longer his firm, at least on paper. In a deal just completed, the New York-based media buyer Carat North America (owned by the London-based Aegis Group plc) will acquire ICG to form a national operation with 11offices with 260 employees (ICG had nine offices with 160 employees). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Carat simultaneously purchased the Media Marketing Assessment research firm, “which will mean we’ll have access to considerably more research specific to our clients to pinpoint their target audiences,” Butcher said.
The deal was beneficial for ICG in light of the consolidation of media companies. Eventually, he predicted, there will be four or five “media planning and buying points in the country, and ICG wanted to be part of one of them.”
The merger gives ICG more muscle to compete with Western International Media Corp, the region’s media buying leader. Until now, he said, Western was the only North American media buyer with “strong offices” in Los Angeles and New York.