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Entrepreneurial “media chefs” cook up the best media plans at an agency that prides itself on its culture.


Elevator pitch:

media kitchenMulti-modal and digital-centric media entrepreneurs.

Origin story

The Media Kitchen was spun out of kirshenbaum bond senecal + partners in 2001, and it’s been riding the waves of digital change ever since. It’s still “embedded” within KBS and holding company MDC Partners, handling traditional and digital media planning and buying.

Secret sauce

You gotta be nice to make it here. This 85-person agency takes its culture very seriously. Lowenthal himself, with nine years at the top, aims to help staff grow into media stars. As one staffer said on GlassDoor, “If you are looking for a place that has creativity, innovation, and filled with nice people – this is it.” Adds Barry Lowenthal, president of The Media Kitchen, “It creates a culture of collaboration, curiosity and creativity.”

Media decision-makers

Barry Lowenthal Head ShotA new client engagement always starts at the top, with Lowenthal himself meeting with the client to develop the scope of work. “That’s one of the things we’re really proud of,” he says. With an agency this size, the client should expect to have high touch from the management team.” Lowenthal will assess the client’s business goals, target audiences and what kinds of media they think would be appropriate. He’ll assign one of the agency’s seven group directors and sit down with that person to put together a staffing plan. Every group director and team is responsible for developing the scope of work, an overarching communication strategy and then overseeing channel strategy and tactical planning.

Media strategies

The agency has quickly evolved to meet market needs. In 2008, it created one of the first agency programmatic trading desks, Varick Media Management. These days, while as much as 50 percent of The Media Kitchen’s media buys are still done programmatically, programmatic is now handled by the agency’s search team, rebranding it as the programmatic media group. With this move, Lowenthal says, “Programmatic was immediately integrated into every one of our brand teams, because search is integrated into each of them.”

Current clients

Combe, TE Connectivity, CIT, Pink, Lane Bryant, Vagisil, Just for Men.

Campaigns of note

Goldman Sachs came to The Media Kitchen asking to drive more engagement with its onsite creative. But an analysis of site performance found that most people would not click on banners and go to the Goldman site. Instead, the agency helped Goldman create content hubs on partner sites that allowed consumers to engage with the content where they already were. Says Lowenthal, “Brands are spending millions of dollars to take consumers out of the flow of the internet. We needed to take their great content and put it into the flow.”

The Media Kitchen introduced Vanguard to fractional attribution, allowing the company to attribute each of its consumer touch points to conversion, increasing performance sevenfold.

What’s next?

Mobile is shaping the agency’s core strategy this year, in anticipation of the billions of people globally who will come online in the next five years solely via mobile devices.

We have to train people to think about media planning with a mobile filter.

Lowenthal is inspiring the staff to get out of the browser mentality and think beyond responsive design. In the future, he says, “The tiny screen will completely change the way businesses are built and the services that are created. The creativity coming from these countries will reshape our frame of reference on social, commercial and retailing.”

In the short term, the mobile emphasis means shifting the emphasis from mass media like television to finding “mobile moments” that can deliver consumers at every part of the purchase funnel with the right combination of media, apps and cross-device attribution. He says, “We have to train people to think about media planning with a mobile filter.”

CHECK OUT: Our Previous Agency Profile: Spark, a digital boutique backed by a global Agency Network


Susan has been covering digital media since they were invented. She began her career as a design writer and then became a senior reporter for Adweek, covering the launches of Google, Amazon, Overture and DoubleClick, among many others. She was a senior writer covering marketing for Business 2.0, and then helped found M-Business, a magazine about the mobile industry that, in 2001, was way before its time. Since 1993, she's reported on the internet, digital culture, technology and science. Her work has appeared in Mediapost, ClickZ and other digital publications, and she consults on content strategy for technology and financial clients from a home office in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Susan reside en la Bahía de San Francisco, muy cerca de Silicon Valley y ha cubierto los medios digitales desde que se inventaron. Empezó su carrera como reportera de diseño y luego ocupó la posición de reportera senior de Adweek, cubriendo los lanzamientos de Google, Amazon, Overture y Doubleclick, entre muchos otros. También fue reportera de mercadotecnia en la revista Business 2.0 y luego ayudó a fundar la revista M Business, una publicación sobre el Mercado del móvil que se lanzo antes de que llegara el auge de ese vehículo. Desde 1993 ha reporteado sobre Internet, cultura digital, tecnología y ciencia. Su trabajo ha aparecido en Mediapost, ClickZ y otras publicaciones digitales.

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