Worked in: London, Dublin, Tokyo, New York
Andrew McLean admits that he’s a “life-long media man,” and has in fact worked during the past two decades with three of the world’s most successful and well-known media operations DMB&B/Mediavest, Carat (who werehis agency of record while he was the media upremo at Disney) and now GroupM. He’s played a key role in the rise of media investment management from a secondary and backroom function into the powerful, creative and strategic player leading the way for marketers.
He recently wrote that “media fragmentation may have driven us to a ‘quantity versus quality’ creative brief.” He believes that only through more thoughtful integration of advertisers and content will our industry see the kind of messaging that creates strong emotional connections between brands and consumers. “Content that makes people feel something—in any media—stands out. And it drives behavioral change.”
His past experience as an international client and agency leader allows him to see opportunity and challenge from both sides, which makes him uniquely suited to international media management.
Why do people see you as an innovator? At GroupM, Andrew’s focus is to drive growth and development. As part of the management team that produced four years of double-digit growth and two-time recognition as “Global Agency of the Year” for MEC.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? Andrew believes that innovation is key to winning in today’s media environment. The business development team is constantly looking for new ways to connect GroupM’s clients’ brands and services with consumers.
Complementing that objective is one dedicated to a basic understanding of media fundamentals—math and analytics. Success is dependent on both. Ideas are account winners, strong basic media skills keep accounts stable and growing.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects? Andrew sees time as the biggest challenge in applying innovative thinking to international
projects. The increasing pressure on business has driven a “just in time” approach to media and marketing strategy. This is at odds with the needs for a consistent approach with multiple stakeholders. Company revenues are being driven country by country, and getting the appropriate input for the appropriate solution takes time.
Dictionary definitions aside, how would you characterize innovation in the work you do? For Andrew, innovation is characterized by positive change and growth. Growth for his clients’ business,
growth for his people, and growth for GroupM. “Growth takes care of everything” he says.
Any internationalist trivia about yourself? He’s pitched and won business in four continents.
Andrew also finds time to both lead the IAA (International Advertising Association) New York Chapter, as well as act as Global Vice President of the world IAA body. His involvement with New York has resulted in greater support for professional development and more events that highlight best practices.
And he’s not shy about participating in the IAA’s social agenda. At a recent South Africa-themed Ball, he arrived in England football kit to honor the World Cup. However, that’s not to be outdone by his video appearance, which many thought better than Helen Miran’s performance, where he played the Queen of England when welcoming guests to a UK-themed black-tie event.