The daughter of a career military officer, Angela Courtin moved every two and a half years as a child to different states and countries, subsequently becoming a citizen of the world.
Now, as the global head of brand marketing at YouTube, she gives the platform’s 2 billion users the opportunity to also become worldwide citizens.
Courtin came to Los Angeles in 2000 after graduating from Oklahoma State University, garnering an MBA at the university’s Spears School of Business, and a brief career in D.C. politics.
After working several assistant jobs, she eventually landed at HBO as an associate producer on Big Love. It was there that Courtin had a revelation.
“I was sitting on set, and I just knew that I would never have the eye for direction or a desire to be in front of the camera,” Courtin said. “So, I started thinking about how we would promote the show in different ways.”
That led to the creation of a digital ancillary storytelling experience, which marked the beginning of Courtin’s instrumental career in entertainment marketing and branding.
Since then, Courtin has held lead positions at companies including MySpace, MTV, Dentsu Aegis Network U.S., Relativity Media and most recently Fox Broadcasting, where she served as the chief marketing officer.
Building community and connecting globally are two key components of Courtin’s innovative marketing strategy — making her move to YouTube, with its massive subscriber base and the platform’s reach (over 100 countries in 80 different languages), a no-brainer in 2017.
“The thesis of my career has been about the architect of experience,” Courtin said. “YouTube, given its scale, is a constant, evolving opportunity as a marketer. I don’t think there’s a better playground to play on.”
Courtin helped lead the launch of YouTube TV, which included the historic partnership with Major League Baseball in which YouTube TV was the first-ever presenting sponsor of the World Series. That was followed by the first-ever presenting sponsorship of the NBA Finals. Courtin also oversaw the launch of YouTube Originals.
This year, Courtin spearheaded two YouTube Originals documentaries: Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil and Kevin MacDonald’s Life in a Day 2020. Upcoming Originals include a special from the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund and a six-part unscripted series starring Will Smith.
“We thought we might be telling more scripted programming in the very beginning of YouTube Originals by splitting between scripted and creator-
driven content,” Courtin said. “But we realized that what we need to be doing is doubling down on our platform and the storytellers on our platform.
“When new individuals want to come in and really be a part of this dialogue and this community, like the Will Smiths of the world, there is a place for them,” she added. “But we’re really leveraging the power of our platform and our storytellers to ensure that we are using that brand voice in the right way to amplify and invest in those stories.”
Crafting a COVID Response
Courtin also has been influential in driving YouTube’s response to COVID-19. When the pandemic struck and social distancing was a mandate, the platform combined the decade-old #WithMe movement (videos helping people at home to connect with creators) and the newly launched #StayHome campaign for two reasons: to help people connect globally and to persuade people all around the world to maintain social distance during the outbreak.
Courtin also played an instrumental role in YouTube teaming with Global Citizen on Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World to raise awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated.
“Angela is always looking to innovate and move us forward,” Garth Graham,
director and global head of healthcare and public health partnerships at YouTube, said. “She doesn’t want to just do what other companies and brands have done before. She wants to break new ground.”
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