Hollywood loves a good reboot, and no one understands that better than Steven Abraham, who has spent the last five years remaking the Los Angeles office of MediaCom into the agency equivalent of a box-office blockbuster
He’s grown the head count from six to 65 and annual billings from $25 million to $450 million, with a massive win early this year of the Sony PlayStation global account. The brand joins a roster that includes Universal Music Group, Pokemon, Tempur Sealy and home security firm Ring.
It’s a total revival since Abraham arrived in 2011, just after MediaCom had lost Warner Bros.-its most significant client of nearly two decades.
“The office needed to be reborn, and we really had to pound the pavement for new business,” says Abraham, evp, managing director, who relocated to the West Coast from MediaCom London. “But it was also an opportunity to make our mark in L.A., broaden our business and seek other categories, instead of being an extension of a studio.”
Moving the physical operation from WB-adjacent Burbank to Santa Monica, Calif., Abraham gathered what he calls “young and hungry” staffers who pitched the boutique nature of L.A.’s MediaCom, backed by the vast resources of parent company WPP. He shepherded new divisions to handle search, social media, analytics and strategy so that his office “wouldn’t be considered just an offshoot” of the New York headquarters.
That foundation helped MediaCom snatch PlayStation from bigger competitors Carat and OMD, which Abraham calls “a game changer” (pun intended). With its newly assembled 17-person team, the PlayStation account embodies Abraham’s philosophy of retaining a small-shop sensibility while “getting under the client’s skin.”
“It may sound twee, but we’ll always try to maintain that personal touch and chemistry, along with offering all the data and analytics and planning,” he says. “It stems from putting the right talent with the right clients and then living and breathing the partnership.”