Top 10 Digital Media Buyers (30 and Under)

With large budgets to work with for marquee brands, these innovators are hardly as green as their ages suggest

Perhaps more than any other agency department, media is a place where young hustlers—go-for-broke buyers and planners who have grown up playing across digital platforms—can make a mark. Below we look at 10 buyers 30 and under who are capitalizing on the best possible usages of the myriad media outlets available to get their clients’ messages to consumers in creative ways.

Kristen Colonna, group account director

OMD, New York

The 30-year-old oversees PepsiCo Foods, which includes Frito-Lay and Quaker. On Colonna’s watch, her team won a silver Effie in the Media Innovation category for a Frito-Lay campaign in 2010. She was responsible for a $205 million budget this year—a number expected to go up to $250 million in 2012.

Doug Brodman, associate media director

MediaVest USA, New York

Brodman oversees MediaVest USA’s national broadcast and digital investment strategy for Procter & Gamble’s male grooming products. Called “The Rock” by higher-ups because of his core strengths, the 28-year-old led last year’s launch of Gillette’s ProGlide razor—which became P&G’s largest media product launch ever.

Nick George, digital media supervisor

Universal McCann, San Francisco

George, 26, started out as a Universal McCann media planner for Microsoft, then worked abroad for UM in Tokyo and Singapore. He now manages blue chip client Charles Schwab—and in his free time, runs UMSF’s in-office radio station.

Wade Rifkin, associate media director

Digitas, New York

The 28-year-old leads the American Express account. Under Rifkin, the shop took home a 2011 Clio for AmEx’s “Small Business Saturday” campaign, which encouraged consumers to visit local merchants. He also spearheads “Tie Thursdays,” when everyone on his floor dons neckwear—although according to reports, some colleagues are more reluctant than others

to participate.

Tiffany Bright, digital supervisor

Initiative, Los Angeles

Bright manages the

Dr Pepper Snapple Group account, which includes A&W Root Beer, 7Up, and Motts Apple Juice—and a budget of around $15 million. Based in Los Angeles, the 28-year-old is also a ThinkLA ambassador, encouraging other aspiring media professionals toward advertising.

Gabriel Cheng, associate media director

Ansible Mobile, San Francisco

Cheng, 26, leads mobile media efforts for IPG’s mobile marketing agency. He supervises a number of major accounts, including Johnson & Johnson brands and Intuit, home to TurboTax. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, where his school-selected roommate was the notoriously talentless American Idol contestant William Hung.

Jenn Cox, associate director

Starcom USA, Chicago

Cox leads digital planning for Wrigley’s gum brands—the company spent $160 million total in 2010 across all brands—including Juicy Fruit, Orbit, and 5 Gum. The 27-year-old was instrumental in 5 Gum’s sponsorship of Coachella’s 2011 live stream and its partnership with YouTube.

Donna Sharp, associate director

Starcom USA, Chicago

Sharp, 27, leads Wrigley’s digital planning for its confections, including Skittles and Starburst. She led “Starburst Unplugged,” partnering with MTV for an online campaign that garnered a Daytime Emmy Award. A musical campaign makes sense for Sharp, who’s a karaoke and show tune enthusiast.

Sejal Patel, digital media supervisor

Initiative, Los Angeles

Patel, 27, oversees strategic planning and buying for the Kia Motors America account—a client that spends north of $30 million on digital. She’s also an entrepreneur on the side, baking creative cakes for kids’ birthday parties.