All agencies will be housed in a new standalone office space in the capital, with a team of 25 staff. The group will be led jointly by Adam O’Neill as GM of GroupM Korea and director WW team LG Global, and Joonho Yang, GM of MediaCom Korea (pictured right).
O’Neill has been based in Seoul since January 2010, having relocated to work on Mindshare’s LG Electronics account. He will be supported by Donna Kim, who joins from Diamond Ogilvy as media manager.
As GM of MediaCom, which previously operated within fellow WPP agency Grey Korea, Yang brings with him the agency team and planning and buying assignments for clients including Procter & Gamble, Dell, VW, Audi, GSK and Allianz.
Rob Hughes, global managing partner for LG at Mindshare, said the expansion in Korea was part of an ambition to “strengthen the LG Electronics team and the delivery of world class communications for LG Electronics around the globe. Further hires are planned in the areas of digital media planning, buying and support.
The move is also the result of requests for a local presence from clients such as Bayer, Goldman Sachs and SAP. Yang said that MediaCom would benefit from its formal inclusion in the GroupM network in the market, adding that MediaCom aimed to be the market leader within the next three years.
Mark Patterson, GroupM Asia-Pacific’s regional chief executive, said in launching the operation he had sought to avoid “the smoke and mirrors approach of other international media groups” with a presence in Korea. “We have our own P&L, our own people, our own offices and our own plan, and we will build a high calibre, profitable, market-leading business,” Patterson noted. “We see opportunities to strengthen our relationship with key global and regional clients by having our own media operation here as well as opportunities to grow the media agency presence and influence in Korea.
He added that GroupM would mark the formation of the new offices with a regional exco and digital meeting in Seoul in the summer, along with client and media owner-focused events. “We want to make friends here and build relationships for the long term,” he said. “We have huge respect for the Korean communications industry and we are keen to integrate well.”