OMD defends DTAC brief, names Bangkok successors

BANGKOK: Thai mobile operator DTAC has retained OMD as its media partner after ratcheting up adspend in the thick of escalating media rates and fierce price competition in Thailand's mobile market.

OMD saw off attempts by Carat, MEC and Prakit FCB to capture the business, which was put up for review after OMD first won the brief two years ago.

DTAC's 2004 half-year media billings soared upwards by over 60 per cent year on year, with annual spend expected to exceed one billion baht (US$24 million) by the end of the year. So far this year, the four most advertised brands in Thailand are all mobile products, according to figures from Nielsen Media Research.

DTAC's marketing communications and media director, Chatuphum Sutasarn, said OMD's knowledge of the business was key in the media agency's victory.

"The value that the OMD team brings will help our communications strategies," he said.

Mobile adspend in Thailand, bouyed by a recovering economy, is expected to continue rising as competing operators introduce new technologies and services. The Thai media market is also experiencing severe inflation with recent rate hikes announced by the country's two main TV stations, Channel 3 and Channel 7. Channel 3 plans to up prime-time ad rates by 15 to 20 per cent in October, though the increases from Channel 7, which already charges more for its slots, will probably remain in single digits, according to media practitioners.

OMD has also named new senior staff in Thailand, following the recent departures of CEO Martin Dufty and GM Withaya Tangtanaporn, who left to set up his own communications shop. Sean O'Brien, with 18 years' media experience in Europe, North and South America, has been appointed new chief executive officer, while Narong Tresuchon, who left OMD Thailand last year to become marketing director at production house Matching Studio, returns as general manager. O'Brien was most recently MD of Precise Group in the UK.

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