Doug Ray, President, Carat North America
As North American president of Carat, Doug Ray represents a rare blend of motivational coach, active listener and sharp thinker.
Those qualities helped spur the media shop’s extraordinary new business run this year, with big wins like General Motors, Macy’s, Gillette Venus and GoPro fueling regional revenue growth of 25 percent. For his achievements, Ray was selected as Adweek’s Media All-Star Executive of the Year.
Carat North America will end 2012 with more than $120 million in revenue, up from about $96 million at the end of 2011, per Adweek estimates. North America is now the agency’s second largest region by revenue after Europe and home to its biggest account, GM, with an annual global media spend of $3 billion.
Without question, the European-born Carat has flourished in North America under Ray, an eight-year veteran of the shop who assumed his current role in July 2011.
That said, advertising is a team sport. Although Ray is a key leader who oversees 1,000 staffers in 10 offices, he’s ultimately just one man in a network that wins or loses as a group. He attributes Carat’s success in part to colleagues such as HR director Tecla Palli-Sandler, who has helped recruit a new breed of talent. One example: Mike Vitti, svp of data and analytics, who worked for the PGA Tour before joining Carat in March. Today, he’s Ray’s “Moneyball guy,” in charge of interpreting big data.
“If we want to challenge the status quo, if we really want to redefine media, we won’t be able to do that by hiring inside the industry,” explains Ray. “I want to be the most modern media agency.”
Ray is incentivized to collaborate, be it within the Aegis Group agency, with sister shops or with marketers. On that score, one marketing leader gives him high marks. “Doug is someone I can pick up the phone and call at any time, and it’s because he works hard to build genuine friendships and collaborates well with clients,” says Suzanne Watson, former svp of marketing at GoPro, who also worked with Ray in her 12 years at Procter & Gamble, another top Carat client. “He builds great teams.”
That’s an apt description of a former springboard diver and coach who cites college coach Randy Ableman as a mentor who defined success as “allowing people to believe they can do something that they don’t believe they can do.”
Another influence: Ray’s first boss, Mike Lotito at Ammirati & Puris, who taught him to think broadly like a marketer, not just a media exec.
Lotito’s lesson has certainly sunk in, at least in the eyes of Tony Giannini, svp of media strategy and marketing effectiveness at Macy’s. “He is focused on the big picture but also understands the details,” says Giannini, who describes Ray as “driven by innovation and intuitive.”
Winning qualities indeed. —Andrew McMains
Sarah Bachman, Director, Mobile Strategy, Horizon Media
Sarah Bachman is in something of a rush. The University of Texas grad could have finished college in three years but opted to kick around the Austin campus because, as she puts it, “there’s something not right about graduating at the age of 20.”
But she has hardly put the brakes on her career. In three years since joining Horizon Media, Bachman has risen through the ranks from digital account group supervisor to director of mobile strategy. As she sees it, there’s little choice but to move quickly. “What’s so interesting—and it’s why I love digital—is there’s constantly this feeling of there’s always something more to learn,” says Bachman, this year’s Adweek Media All-Stars Rising Star. “That intrigues me and has increased exponentially in mobile where things are changing so much.”
In the last year, Horizon’s mobile team has grown sixfold and billings have tripled from $7 million to $20 million.
“We’re doing the planning and buying which is unique to other organizations where they act as consultants,” Bachman explains, adding that her team coordinates across the agency to stay on top of opportunities to weave in mobile touch points. Aiding those cross-agency efforts, Bachman instituted an internal mobile education series to get the rest of the agency up to speed on the small screen.
That knowledge has been applied to clients including Capital One and Corona, which have tapped the emerging intersection between mobile and video. Capital One partnered with second-screen mobile app Viggle, while Corona created a custom mobile video series featuring Super Bowl-winning NFL coach Jon Gruden.
But Bachman is just getting started. She also worked with Nielsen to measure how a single piece of video creative running simultaneously across TV, online and mobile lifted purchase intent, brand recall and favorability according to platform. Mobile won.
That, she says, “will come in very handy as we look at 2013 planning and how video transcends.” —Tim Peterson
David Cohen, Chief Media Officer, UM
Since March, when 11-year Universal McCann veteran David Cohen became chief media officer of the global media giant, he has transformed its culture for the digital age—switching out traditional groups with new ones, and shifting to meet the evolving needs of clients such as Coca-Cola, L’Oréal, Chrysler and Exxon Mobil.
Cohen has replaced UM’s siloed teams for TV, print and digital media buyers with so-called Integrated Investment contingents in charge of central disciplines. For example, one team services clients with predominantly print-buying needs, though it also includes TV, digital and mobile specialists. Another is focused on TV but augmented by print, digital and mobile experts. And Cohen has created a Decision Sciences unit to tackle Big Data and rev up sales with real-time tweaks.
All that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“Media planning is not a discipline [anymore],” Cohen says. “For instance, we have another new team called Portfolio Management. I know that sounds very ‘financial services,’ but it’s our belief that over time media will become like how an investment banker manages a portfolio of assets, watches performance in real time and optimizes based on marketplace results.”
He adds, “While we still believe that media is extremely relationship-driven, we think Portfolio Management is a better representation of our media-planning function.”
Cohen’s inside-and-out makeover of UM over the last year doesn’t end there, however. He’s also been busy ramping up the digital dexterity of the company’s staff of hundreds.
“In an agency environment, training is sometimes viewed as a luxury and takes a backseat,” he says. “But in order to be a future-focused agency, it’s never been more important to take our folks through our vision, our tool kit and how we go to market. We have put more emphasis on that idea this year than ever because we had to. We had to educate our folks to stay out in front of the competition.” —Chris Heine
Danielle Gonzales, EVP/Managing Director, Tapestry/Starcom USA
Danielle Gonzales leads a growing movement among marketing and media professionals preaching a simple truth: The Hispanic demographic is no longer another niche market but, rather, should be viewed as a vital element in a brand’s general market strategy.
And there are 100 million reasons why.
Gonzales, svp and managing director of Starcom USA’s multicultural agency Tapestry, negotiated the first upfront deal of the 2012 season: a $100 million-plus pact between Univision and clients including Burger King, Mars/Wrigley and Kellogg.
That feat, Gonzales says, will go down as one of the highlights of her career.
It wasn’t exactly a bad day for SMG, either.
“We have all different clients and the same discussions,” Gonzales says, “and we realized that there would be a big advantage if we could move in the marketplace with a Spanish partner first.”
Gonzales believed that showcasing Univision and the enormous market it represents wouldn’t just help her clients but also illustrate the evolving market to players tepid about shifting their media strategies. “People would realize that it’s not a one-language show anymore, and it would show the importance that our Starcom team has put on Hispanic,” she explains.
That brand of forward thinking has fostered Tapestry’s growth as a multicultural agency.
In one high-profile case, Burger King hired Tapestry to work on Hispanic and African-American campaigns. The fast-food chain was so pleased with the results that it put Tapestry in charge of its general market strategy.
Gonzales, naturally, felt validated.
“There’s an Hispanic agency that has just as much rigor as a general market agency,” Gonzales says, brimming with pride. “They started seeing progress with their ethnic figures; we continued to foster that relationship.”—Sam Thielman
Huw Griffiths, Global Chief Performance Officer, UM
Agencies like to talk about being partners with clients. Huw Griffiths, Universal McCann’s global chief performance officer, has turned that aspiration into a reality, leading the movement toward pay-for-performance, a revolutionary approach to agency compensation that rewards agencies based on their clients’ business goals.
Instead of being rewarded based on how well a media plan delivers gross ratings points or meets media reach and frequency measures, under P4P an agency is judged—and compensated—according to nontraditional metrics. Here, client and agency agree upfront on a compensation plan based on variables that may include sales, store traffic or shifts in consumer perception. “Our clients will be judged on financial metrics, so we’re judged and paid on those same financial metrics,” explains Griffiths. “If we get paid more money, it’s because our clients made more money. It’s a self-funding program.”
Under Griffiths, UM has converted fully half its client roster, including Chrysler, Johnson & Johnson and Sony, to P4P.
Working out the perfect recipe of metrics seems a natural for Griffiths, a self-described foodie who spends his off-hours in the kitchen. Griffiths devises performance metrics much in the same way he whips up his favorite pasta sauce: mixing and sampling in search of the perfect blend.
In formulating just the right mix, Griffiths draws upon 18 years of experience in media research and advanced analytics. In some cases, he and his clients have come up with whole new ways to judge a campaign’s success. Adding nontraditional metrics to the mix has enabled UM to, among other things, monitor the performance of marketing plans in real time and make changes on the fly.
Griffiths’ command of the decision sciences may seem daunting, but don’t call him an ROI rocket scientist.
“I’m not a fan of complexity,” he says. “I try to simplify things as much as possible and keep the focus on what we’re trying to achieve. It’s just an intelligent approach.” —Katy Bachman
Cindy Gustafson, Managing Director, Mindshare
By just about anyone’s standard, haute couture and caloric indulgence would make for an implausible marketing mix. But when Mindshare partnered with Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld to write and direct three film shorts for the U.S. rollout of Unilever’s premium ice cream brand Magnum, the effort quickly became one of the marketer’s most successful North American launches.
The architect behind the effort was Mindshare managing partner/managing director Cindy Gustafson, who created buzz for a product with no U.S. recognition.
The target being obsessed with celebrity, Gustafson introduced the brand with a glamorous splash, with Magnum’s debut borrowing more from the world of high fashion and movie marketing than CPG. Lagerfeld’s films, featuring actress Rachel Bilson, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, where viewers were given a sample of Magnum.
With shipments exceeding internal projections by 46 percent, Magnum became the best-selling super premium ice cream bar in the U.S. within a month of launch.
Gustafson’s counterintuitive thinking points to the creativity and grounded strategy she brings to her clients’ media challenges. Over the past year, she’s led the design of Mindshare’s Content Roadmap, a proprietary framework linking particular types content to specific business objectives.
That has worked so well in North America that other Mindshare offices around the world have adopted the framework. “With the Content Roadmap, the goal is to provide consistency, rigor and structure and start to talk about content much further upstream in the marketing mix,” Gustafson says.
Rob Master, Unilever’s North American media director, says, “Our people love to brainstorm and collaborate with Cindy and her team. She knows media fundamentals but brings so much more to those ideas. Her greatest strength is her ability to blend passion and creativity with strategic thinking to our businesses.” —Noreen O’Leary
Michael Hayes, President, Digital Communications, Initiative
It’s not every day that an agency firmly rooted in television ad buys makes the seamless transition to digital. But under the leadership of digital communications president Michael Hayes, one agency, Initiative, did just that.
Capitalizing on the explosive digital marketplace, Hayes oversees Initiative’s digital practice both in the U.S. and globally, growing the fledgling side of the business into a robust, 200-person team. Since 2004, Hayes has helped secure blue-chip clients such as Lionsgate, Hyundai/Kia and MillerCoors. He’s also beefed up Initiative’s social media unit while infusing an innovative culture into Initiative’s day-to-day operations.
Hayes has also been integral in the launch and growth of Prophesee, a Web platform that monitors brand perception across social media. Incubated at Initiative, Prophesee is now a stand-alone unit overseen by Hayes that provides social and Web monitoring for tracking brand sentiment and analytics.
At Initiative, Hayes’ digital focus has increased YOY digital revenue by better than 500 percent. Significantly, it has also positioned Initiative for a future that is sure to be dominated by digital and mobile sales. (The market research firm Mintel projects online ad revenue will surpass television by 2017.)
For Hayes, the agency’s transition to a digital focus has been daunting but essential in a changing media environment. “The world of media and marketing has gotten so complex that there is no better time than now for agencies to understand and help brands seeking a strategy to navigate this digital world,” he explains.
Going forward, Hayes plans to evolve Initiative’s digital imprint across the agency.
As he sees it, “I would argue as a whole that there needs to be more digital focus and also more of a switch from the traditional ‘buy agency’ to a more holistic marketing firm where ideas are generated and brands are built.” —Charlie Warzel
Theresa LaMontagne, Managing Director, MEC Global
Theresa LaMontagne remembers well her first days at MEC, a media agency that in today’s ROI-obsessed world had developed precise measurements for TV, print, online, word of mouth and nearly everything else. In fact, there was just one thing missing: continuity.
“We had to break down the notion of online versus offline to look at everything holistically,” recalls the managing director and senior practice lead, analytics and insight. “They needed to change, so they brought me in. I was to deal with the data deluge.”
Synthesizing research, data integration, digital analytics and modeling teams, LaMontagne forged the firm’s first fully integrated analytics and insights practice—a tool that drew new clients and allowed existing ones to monitor consumer behavior in real time.
Then-CEO Lee Doyle called LaMontagne’s efforts “a natural evolution of MEC’s services.”
And she was only getting started. This year, LaMontagne took the wraps off Crossmedia, a tool that synthesizes over 1,000 econometric measurements, overlaying them with segmentation and behavioral data to create media plans statistically most likely to produce sales.
That’s a mouthful, but LaMontagne easily boils it down to the essentials: “Half the battle with analytics is getting the data organized, cleaned and in one place. We’ll spend three months just so we can answer any question in three minutes.”
MEC, whose clients include Ikea and Colgate-Palmolive, has watched its revenues double during LaMontagne’s tenure, during which she’s added 60 staffers to her department.
It’s all been a heady experience for this veteran number cruncher whose resume includes stints at BBDO and Yahoo.
It wasn’t so many years ago, LaMontagne recalls, that “media was part of the creative department and the analytics people worked in a closet.” No more. These days, LaMontagne’s numerical dexterity defines the new forefront of media planning.
“Today,” she says, “data is the new black.” —Robert Klara
Jeff Lupinacci, IPG Mediabrands’ Global CFO
Colleagues relate that when Jeff Lupinacci, IPG Mediabrands’ global CFO, shows up for new business pitches, he’s often mistaken as a creative or account guy, not the top numbers cruncher at the media holding company.
Instrumental in wins for Chrysler, Johnson & Johnson and BMW, Lupinacci says he sees his job as something more than analyzing spreadsheets. Rather, he strives for deep relationships with Mediabrands clients, learning about their businesses and working closely with their procurement executives.
Now in the job for one year, he’s an industry advocate of pay-for-performance pricing who believes that outreach is critical. Mediabrands has now converted 50 percent of its clients. And Lupinacci often speaks with them monthly, traveling the world with the CEOs of Mediabrands’ UM and Initiative networks to participate in client pitches and meetings. “We need to be better partners in working with procurement,” Lupinacci says of the ad industry. “We can show we’re driving performance, not just cutting costs.”
Lupinacci comes out of a finance background, which includes time as director of the venture capital and private equity group at Koch Industries. That led him to Leo Burnett and its marketing services arm, Arc, where he became North Americam CFO. At Mediabrands, Lupinacci has overseen recent acquisitions like Seattle-based social shop Spring Creek Group and Interactive Avenues in India. He’s also grown IPG Media Lab beyond UM and Initiative clients and is relaunching Velociter, a tech investment fund. This past August, he created the financial infrastructure of BPN, Mediabrands’ third agency network, which launched globally in 14 countries.
“Jeff does a lot more than what a CFO does. He looks at finance from a much broader perspective,” says Matt Seiler, Mediabrands’ CEO. “He’s great to be around and that’s not always the case with CFOs. Most finance guys say ‘no.’ With Jeff, he’s always about finding ways to get something done.” —Noreen O’Leary
Keith Mackay, President, Strategy, Optimedia
After 10 years running Optimedia’s West Coast operations, Keith Mackay last September got a call from ZenithOptimedia North American CEO Tim Jones. The offer: to move cross-country to regional HQ in New York for the newly created post of president of strategy. The challenge would be to help upgrade all the agency’s U.S. planning processes for an increasingly complex media landscape.
Now Mackay oversees strategy for Optimedia’s five U.S. outposts—Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, Indianapolis and New York—as they implement Live ROI, the sweeping new offering that ZenithOptimedia launched with Mackay’s help in April. Aimed at improving the efficiency of client spending through carefully tailored real-time analytics, Live ROI emphasizes the use of hard numbers to aid clients in successfully navigating fast-changing online ad-buying technology and media options.
That, of course, means Mackay spends much of his time sifting through a glut of data—including information about online consumer behavior, as well as more traditional market research—to identify choke points for client business, shape actionable insights, then execute strategies for brands such as T-Mobile. “It’s about looking at all that data and trying to uncover what it’s trying to tell us,” Mackay says. “For example, how does the way somebody searches inform us on how they shop?
That Jones would tap Mackay to oversee such an undertaking is not surprising. During his tenure as managing director of Optimedia’s Seattle and San Francisco offices, Mackay increased billings by 40 percent over five years while helping integrate traditional and digital media strategies for core client T-Mobile.
Since then, his expertise in crafting data-driven solutions to solve sticky business issues has continued to pay off for Jones and Optimedia. Over the past year, Mackay was responsible for landing $120 million in new agency billings from clients including Giorgio Armani, Nintendo, Princess Cruises and Cessna Air. —Gabriel Beltrone
Kate Melville, VP, Associate Media Director, mediahub, Mullen
As vp, associate media director at Mullen’s media buying and planning unit mediahub, Kate Melville has surely overseen some impressive marketing projects over the past year, including the “Personalized Closet” campaign for Zappos that won her agency an Adweek Media Plan of the Year Award.
For Zappos, Melville and her team came up with an idea that turned an in-book gatefold into an individualized shopping piece by using subscribers’ names printed on front of the women’s lifestyle magazine Real Simple. It was one of the first instances in which Time Inc. let a brand send personalized messages to subscribers using ink-jet technology.
The core of the campaign relied on a medium some have written off. A self-described magazine obsessive, Melville is frustrated by print’s bad rap. “Every single day, we have clients asking us if print is dead,” she says. “It makes me kind of angry.”
Whether working with accounts Zappos, Bose or JetBlue, Melville is bullish on the value of the medium. “There’s still a huge potential in impressions through print,” she notes. “And there’s still a certain cachet with print titles that advertisers can tap into.”
Her love of the printed page doesn’t mean Melville is ignoring the future. “We have to prepare for tomorrow, and tablets are the future of magazines,” she says. That embrace of digital has secured Melville a spot as adviser to magazine trade group MPA’s Tablet Task Force, which aims to standardize magazine readership measurement on tablets. Melville is pushing the group to provide more metrics supporting reader engagement with tablet ads. In addition, she sits on the 4A’s Next Generation Publishing Committee, which tracks changes in publishing practices for the benefit of agencies and brands.
All that cheerleading for magazine brands should help publishers rest easy, knowing they have an unwavering, vocal advocate among media buyers. As Melville puts it plainly: “My goal is to be able to tell my clients that print is not dead.” —Emma Bazilian
Dan Parise, Associate Managing Director, Scout Sports and Entertainment, Horizon Media
High above the warren of streets where downtown Brooklyn tumbles headlong into Boerum Hill, Dan Parise’s apartment looks out onto the site of his greatest success. Crouched a few blocks southeast of his home, the glassy expanse of the Geico Atrium functions as the main entrance to the pre-weathered hull that is the new Barclays Center.
This season, some 550,000 Brooklyn Nets fans are expected to pass through the Geico-branded vestibule, making it one of Parise’s most high-profile naming rights deals since Horizon Media formed the Scout Sports and Entertainment unit two years ago.
“It’s a great visibility play,” says Parise, associate managing director of Scout, adding that a station serving nine subway lines sits close to the Geico entrance. But the deal extends well beyond the high-profile exposure from the Nets’ 41 home games. “The atrium is open 365 days a year, and you can walk in and see right through to the court,” he says. “That unique aspect of the location was a great selling point.”
While Geico previously showed little interest in ponying up for a major sports naming-rights contract, the opportunity was too great to pass up. Along with the cachet that comes with being associated with New York’s newest cultural center, the Geico brand also carries a lot of weight locally, boasting a market share of more than 35 percent in Brooklyn alone.
If the Barclays Center deal is Parise’s most visible effort, it’s just one of many successful negotiations he’s conducted this year. In July, he steered Buffalo Wild Wings to an agreement that will see the sports-themed restaurant group sponsor the college football game previously known as the Insight Bowl.
“The media exposure from sponsoring a bowl game is great, but you can really maximize your investment if you activate against it right away,” Parise says, adding that Buffalo Wild Wings operates as many as 835 restaurants throughout the U.S. “They have a number of stores where we were able to activate in immediately … and that’s a valuable proposition.” —Anthony Crupi