Wonder Women of New York 2023: Amy Campbell
Chief Marketing Officer, MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks
People who work with Amy Campbell, chief marketing officer for MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks, admire her calm demeanor in a demanding job at a company that’s gone through change in a crazy industry.
Following graduate school, Campbell discovered the production business, freelancing before joining MTV. “I gravitated to commercials, short-form, making little mini, bite-sized stories,” she recalled.
Former MTV president Christina Norman also has a production background. “You have to figure out how to get things done with five cents, a ball of string and some tape,” Norman said. Particularly in MTV’s early days, “there were a lot of balls in the air. There was no manual. Amy always delivered and it’s been great to see her move up through the organization in times of tremendous change. This might sound corny, but Amy’s a nice person. The people who work for her are lucky to have a leader who is such a humane person.”
Her boss feels lucky, too. “Everybody sees Amy as the rock in a storm, but what people don’t see coming is how crazy creative and innovative she is,” Chris McCarthy, CEO, Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios & Paramount Media Networks, said.
Before Paramount launched the latest season of the series Yellowstone, Campbell made last-minute changes to the promotional campaign, focusing on younger viewers. Yellowstone’s share among 18-to-34-year-olds jumped almost 50%, McCarthy said. “To say she’s a hero is to underestimate how big and powerful her contributions have been.”
She’s also been a leader in MTV’s social-impact efforts. “That was a huge passion of hers from the very beginning,” said Stephen Friedman, former president of MTV, who remains a company adviser.
Leading Pro-Social Pushes
Campbell spearheaded campaigns about youth violence, women dying during childbirth and mental health. During the last election, her campaign persuaded 700,000 young people to be poll workers. “It’s no longer about a PSA on the channel,” Friedman said. “It’s the TikTok video, it’s Instagram. It’s wherever they are. She’s the heart and soul of the brand.”
“Doing good is part of MTV’s DNA and part of what has kept me at MTV for so long,” Campbell said.
In creating campaigns, Campbell works to understand the content she’s promoting, said Pamela Post, former head of MTV Studios’ West Coast office. For RuPaul’s Drag Race, Campbell decided rather than making a spectacle of the show’s drag queens, she’d focus on their heart and talent. The campaign worked because “heart is easier to relate to,” Post recalled. “It’s much more universal.”
Said Campbell: “They’re dancers, they’re singers, they’re costume designers. The talent the queens have is incredible. But the heart of the story is about finding your family. My daughter Sullivan watches it and we talk about the different types of beauty there are.”
Sharita Petersen, VP, creative services at Paramount Networks, remembered one time Campbell brought Sullivan to a promo shoot for Love & Hip Hop. There were problems with the fire department and Campbell stepped in to support her team with her usual calm.
Said Petersen: “Even if she doesn’t have the answers, you trust she’s going to get to answers.”
Campbell’s example as a working mom inspired Petersen to bring her son to a shoot. “I got a chance to explain to him what it is that I do,” she said.
Francesca Batista, VP, MTV Entertainment Studios, added that Campbell is “the most appreciative person.” Campbell always sends a text, an email or a call to thank staffers for their work. “She’s able to motivate teams to achieve extraordinary work,” Batista said.
“I know what I put into my work, and recognizing it is really important,” Campbell said. ”I also practice this Buddhist idea of ahimsa. It’s really about respecting life in all forms, from my team to everybody in my life, and animals are in there too.”
Campbell adopted a cat, a dog and a rabbit from a downtown shelter called Animal Haven. She reached out to see how she could help and became chairman of its board. Campbell helps generate publicity for Animal Haven’s fundraising gala.
“She adopted one of our animals and the rest is history,” Tiffany Lacey, executive director at Animal Haven, said. “She showed interest in being on the board and we jumped at the opportunity. She’s a huge animal lover and so is her daughter. The whole family is really passionate about the work we do.”
“She uses her superpowers for good and I’ve seen that firsthand,” Jacqueline Parkes, former chief marketing officer for MTV, VH1 and Logo, said. “She is a rare combination of creative chops, strategic thinking and being one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet in business.” ■
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.