OMD’s Digital Head Wants to Foster Cooperation Between Media and Creative Partners

Doug Rozen has been on the job for about 3 months


Specs
Current gig OMD, chief digital and innovation officer
Previous gig Meredith Xcelerated Marketing, chief innovation officer, general manager
Twitter @dougs_digs
Age 41

Adweek: You've been OMD's chief digital and innovation officer for about three months. What's that role like?
Doug Rozen: On the digital side, it's really about ensuring that all clients, as well as ourselves internally, are delivering against the fullest and widest array of digital possibilities. For me, what this comes down to is that digital today is not any particular thing or any specific channel—it really stretches across all [channels] and is about rising above talking about TV, print, radio, desktop, etcetera, as channels, and start talking more about formats like audio, video, visual and how then digital allows those formats to be addressable. Now coupled with that is the innovation side, and innovation is not just big media breakthroughs—although they are awesome and necessary—to me it's about every client [having] an innovation agenda.

What do you mean by that?
I think it's things that aren't traditionally part of media plans. They're not the traditional things that you can buy. One example is working with Bacardi and doing a partnership with Blade [the private helicopter charter company], making it the official vodka of Blade. Another Bacardi example is with the Governors Ball [Music Festival], where we sponsored a boat to take people—not only sponsored but also created a whole environment of a Bacardi boat—to and from Governors Ball [on Randall's Island in New York City].

You were previously at Meredith. What's the biggest difference coming from a publisher like Meredith to a traditional agency?
What I took away from Meredith is the role of product and packaging. A lot of what I saw at Meredith—that you see at other types of organizations—was the role that product plays. An opportunity to package solutions and products so that we can build muscle memory and have some reusability that doesn't minimize the power of an idea. It just minimizes the path to get to that powerful idea. We don't have to reinvent every single time, and I think that's where media companies and others—tech, ad tech firms—are really demonstrating leadership compared to the agency landscape right now.

DDB, which like OMD is part of Omnicom, recently won McDonald's U.S. creative account. Will you have a role in the media planning?
I support all OMD accounts, so I'll have some involvement, but probably not as considerable [a role] as with some other clients.

What more can you tell me about your role with McDonald's?
Part of my responsibility is to ensure we are building tight relationships with our advertising agency partners. It's certainly more helpful when it's a DDB, TBWA or BBDO, but it's not just limited to that. Right now there's a sense of competition between media and creative agencies, and, for me, I want that to be cooperation. Media insights can drive creative ideas as much as creative ideas can drive media plans, so the relationships between media agencies and creative agencies needs to be tight. That's one of the responsibilities I see us trying to be a leader in and how we work with our creative partners hand-in-hand to really erase boundaries and barriers that stand in the way of great work.

This story first appeared in the September 19, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.
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