Antony Young, the newly appointed ceo of ZenithOptimedia’s UK unit Zenith Media, aims to eschew creativity in media planning in favour of maximising clients’ ROI [return on investment, for the acronym-sated] – an unexceptionable aim that crystallizes in a snappy phrase what every agency of whatever discipline should be about.

“We don't want to go down the route of claiming to be the most creative planning-led media agency in the UK,” declares Young. “Zenith has always had the heritage of delivering hard numbers, and I want this to be about delivering more meaningful numbers that help clients drive their business.”

Why he believes that creativity and ROI are mutually exclusive was not explained.

Young’s plans for Zenith entail a shift from obtaining value for money when buying services on behalf of clients, instead identifying products, markets and media channels that provide the best returns.

Young, who hit the ground running in February when he arrived in London from the group’s Asia-Pacific unit, has also instructed his planners and buyers to think less in terms of reach, frequency or media plans, instead focusing on delivering outcomes directly related to sales or shifting consumer perception.

The Brits are a a conservative people. What was their reaction to the Upstart from Down Under?

Young enthuses: “There is a real willingness among people here to change things, which will be helped by being a new company with a clear brand proposition. I was quite surprised and impressed by people because last year wasn't the best.”

2002 saw Zenith Optimedia slip from second to third position in the UK media agency league table with billings of £537.72 million ($856.09m; €793.22m) – a meagre 1.13% increase on the doldrums of 2001. [WAMN: 24-Feb-03].

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff