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The Media Planners


Media Planners Open Their Playbooks

Gary Barsky

Title: Senior VP, managing partner,
Universal McCann

Hometown: Bronx, N.Y. Age: 49
College: SUNY at Oswego
First media job: Media assistant at
NW Ayer in the planning group on the U.S. Army account.
Key client: U.S. Army
Buyer jealousy: "No-I started out as
a floater and I moved around into different departments. That gave me a good
sense of what seemed to be interesting to me. I thought planning was the good
way to go, and it worked out fairly well."
Favorite TV show: Modern Family
Cool way to use TV: Barsky last
winter got involved with Dish Network's interactive TV platform, which allows
viewers to choose from a gallery of creative. "We were able to measure the
effectiveness in terms of how much time people were spending on it, how many
people did we actually drive online to engage with the creative, the length of
time that was spent watching the creative," he says. "We were able to get some
really good metrics that you typically don't get beyond reach, frequency, rating
points. We got a very high level of engagement with the commercials, and a lot
of people actually requesting more information."
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Melissa Coffas

Title: Managing partner, group account director, Mindshare

: Huntington, N.Y. Age:
: Hofstra University
First media job
: Universal McCann, as assistant media planner on Lowe's
Home Improvement
Key client
: Unilever (food brands)
Buyer jealousy
: "I've always really loved the strategic planning side, so
no, I've never thought about moving over."
Favorite TV show
: Mad Men (guilty
pleasure: Real Housewives)
Cool way to use TV
: Lipton Tea had a partnership with the band Lady
Antebellum that included TV spots, custom content and public relations. Lady
Antebellum was scheduled to perform on the CMT Awards, which already had an
official beverage sponsor, but Mindshare was able to buy commercials on the
broadcast. It complemented those spots with a partnership with social TV reward
site Viggle to create a campaign to capture consumers as they were watching the
awards. The agency strategically surrounded the band with spots that aired
after it performed and before its award category nominations were announced.
Viggle asked viewers questions about the show and the brand, and answers were
rewarded with custom Lady Antebellum content. "We saw heavy levels of
engagement," Coffas says.
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David Fasola

Title: Managing partner, group account director, MediaCom

: River Edge, N.J. Age: 40
College: SUNY at New Paltz
First media job
: Assistant planner at SFM Media on the American Isuzu
Motors account
Key client: Volkswagen
Buyer jealousy
: Not at all. "One of the things that SFM gave me, because it
was a small shop, was an opportunity to work closely with buyers and closely
with clients," he says.
Favorite TV show
: Shark Tank.
Also "bad reality shows" he watches with his wife.
Cool way to use TV
: Best example was a program VW did with ABC's The Middle in which the agency's content
team worked with the show's writers to make the next door neighbors' Passat a
key piece of the episode, creating an aspiration for the brand's affordable
German engineering positioning. The episode aired just before VW's ads during
the Super Bowl, so it kicked off a campaign previewing the brand's barking Star Wars spot. "It was really genuine and
it got sticky, and allowed us to draft off that not only in media, but in
content," Fasola says. "It really checked all the boxes."
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Mason Franklin

Title: Managing director, MEC

: Dowagiac, Mich. Age: 46
: University of Michigan
First media job
: Starcom Detroit, working on the General Motors business
Buyer jealousy
: "I get jealous of them a little bit in that the buyers are
really important in helping to bring some of these ideas we come up with to
life with the different partners. In my opinion, the better buyers involve me
in that as they work with the partners."
Favorite TV show
: Flipping Out With
Jeff Lewis

Cool way to use TV
: Putting AT&T together with American Idol to encourage people to use mobile phones to text. Now
everybody texts like it's second nature, Franklin says. But back in the day,
there was a task to be done in getting people to understand texting and getting
them to get into that habit. "At the time, it was a very innovative use of TV
to get people to do what was strategically important to AT&T in terms of
getting that new habit engrained and doing that while letting them enjoy the
experience of Idol," he says.
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Aimee Garriga

Title: Group planning director, Maxus

: Red Bank, N.J. Age: 38
: Lafayette College
First media job
: Assistant media planner at McCann-Erickson in Houston,
sending out insertion orders, reconciling discrepancies, doing flow charts.
Key client: Church & Dwight
Buyer jealousy
: "No. I've always known that I wanted to keep on the
planning side of it. My background is in psychology, and I like focusing on the
consumer and what their media habits are and how you can develop a media idea
or strategy that will more closely resonate with them."
Favorite TV show
: Mad Men
Cool way to use TV
: To build a more emotional connection to consumers for
Arm & Hammer's cat litter, the agency partnered with Animal Planet to
create a philanthropic campaign urging pet owners to tag their cats to keep
them safe, because few lost cats are returned. The campaign paired content
created by the network with brand commercials that aired on TV and appeared on
both the Animal Planet and Arm & Hammer websites. The clients also make
donations to pet shelters. The successful campaign has been running since 2010.
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Kevin Howard

Title: Group account director, OMD NY

: Brooklyn, N.Y. Age: 35
: Gettysburg College
First media job
: Assistant media planner, the Lord Group. Before that, he
sold T-shirts by the famed Cyclone roller coaster. "I learned to negotiate by
negotiating prices on the streets of Coney Island," he says.
Key client
: GE
Buyer jealousy
: "Not so much. The business is evolving and so are buyers. I
love strategy. I love planning. So it's a match made in heaven."
Favorite TV show
: Modern Family
Cool way to use TV
: Used Super Bowl ad to drive viewers to an online
sweepstakes for GE's appliance business via Shazam. "That made it digital just
by virtue of watching the spot," Howard says. The results were amazing: Café
line sales grew 60%, almost 900,000 consumers participated and 14% of those
downloaded a rebate certificate. The campaign generated engagement; the brand's
Facebook community grew by 50%. "That pays dividends in the future for us," he
says. "We wouldn't have gotten a life like that without the TV component."
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Rob Jayson

Title: Chief data officer, ZenithOptimedia Worldwide

: Manchester, U.K. Age: 45
: London School of Economics
First media job
: Assistant TV salesperson at Grenada TV in the U.K.,
keeping schedules on paper and checking ratings in the book.
Buyer jealousy
: "No, I love what I do. If you have a strong negotiation
mind, buying is fantastic. If you're more inquisitive about people and
consumers, then planning is the right area for you."
Favorite TV show
: Dr. Who, his
favorite since he was 7 years old
Key clients
: Nestlé, Chase and Reckitt
Cool way to use TV
: Zenith created a custom platform for Chase's Sapphire
credit card with Bravo's new show Around
the World in 80 Plates
. Zenith was involved from the series conception. Plates stars appear for Chase in
vignettes and online. It is not only great in-program integration, but it
stretches across the brand and across to digital to real customer-user
experiences. Cardholders can recreate experiences from the show, Jayson says.
"It's about trying to grow what the consumer gets out of it, not just the video
asset," he says.
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Coleen Kuehn

Title: President of strategy and planning, MediaVest

: New York; moved at 5 to Birmingham Ala. Age: 44
: Tulane University
First media job
: An intern at Intel in Santa Clara, Calif., doing demand
forecasting. Grew up on the client side with Coca-Cola and American Express.
Buyer jealousy
: "At MediaCom's digital agency, the planning and buying were
integrated. I really do miss the interaction with the media owners. With so
much reality on TV, you have opportunities to do interesting things. And our
buyers get a seat at the table, which is exciting."
Favorite TV show
: Revenge
Cool way to use TV
: For Coke during the Super Bowl, MediaVest streamed
second-screen content featuring the brand's polar bear mascots reacting to the
game. They rooted for different teams, based on who was winning. When a Pepsi
ad appeared, they fell asleep. "Basically it was a multiplier for the 30-second
spots we had purchased in the game," Kuehn says. "Something like that, that
brings the different screens together rather than simply replicating spots and distributing
them on different platforms, I think shows a lot more creativity."
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Kristina Lutz

Title: Senior VP/activation director, Starcom

: An Air Force military brat born in Great Falls, Mont., she went
to high school in Washington, D.C., and Omaha, Neb. Age: 44
: University of Iowa
First media job: Marketing assistant at Boelter Environmental Consulting,
then Leo Burnett.
Key client
: Bank of America
Buyer jealousy
: "The way we're structured now, I have the best of both
Favorite TV show
: Survivor
Cool way to use TV
: Worked with the History Channel to rebuild Bank of
America's reputation after the financial crisis; effort was tied to the
miniseries The Story of Us. "We
delivered bite-sized, immersive stories featuring the bank as an unsung hero
that fueled American progress at key points in our history, and we aligned it
perfectly to the editorial content of the miniseries," Lutz says. The segments
appeared on the air, online, on DVDs and on demand, providing emotional impact.
BofA didn't even buy any commercials. "It was a very non-traditional
was really successful and it moved all the brand metrics and surpassed the
goals that we set," Lutz says.
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Jennifer Nyhan

Title: Senior VP, group business director, Initiative

: Newport News, Va; grew up in Camarillo, Calif. Age: 46
First media job
: Intern at InteRep Radio, working on the Fox Broadcasting
account. Later moved to Fox and ABC, planning and scheduling promos.
Key client: Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Buyer jealousy
: No. "My role is to bring all the different disciplines
together. I'm working across digital, across TV, across print. I feel like I
get a full picture, which I enjoy," Nyhan says.
Favorite TV show
: Real Housewives of
New York
. "People know me as the Bravo enthusiast. I watch a lot of guilty
pleasure, decompress sort of television."
Cool way to use TV
: Went beyond 15- and 30-second spots by integrating
Snapple into The Amazing Race, which
are both "the best stuff on earth," she says. Contestants on the show went to
China and India and helped launch Snapple's new Papaya Mango Tea flavor. "It's
hard to do an integration that's completely seamless and feels like it's a
great fit, and we felt really successful with that one," she says.
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Steve Piluso

Title: Chief strategy officer, PHD

: Born in Brooklyn; grew up in New Providence, N.J. Age: 41
: Boston College
First media job
: Young & Rubicam in the spot buying department; Piluso
asked to join the media planning training course.
Key client
: Google
Buyer jealousy
: "In my first year I slummed around with a lot of buyers,"
Piluso says. "They became a lot of my friends in the business and I understood
what they did. They're a little more willing to get away from the usual way
they do things when they trust you and know that what you're doing is the right
thing to do."
Favorite TV show
: Mad Men
Cool way to use TV
: The agency is looking at ways to create loyalty
programs for entertainment clients HBO and Discovery Communications using
social TV platforms such as GetGlue and Viggle. It's also looking at ways to
get other clients' products involved as incentives for viewing. For example,
viewers of TLC's What Not to Wear
could get a discount at Old Navy. "Leveraging this idea of people checking in
could create a mutual benefit for both of them," Piluso says.
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Jan Weinstein

Title: Senior VP and group director, Carat

: Forest Hills, N.Y. Age: 50
: Syracuse University
First media job
: Assistant planner at Wells Rich Greene doing analysis on
the Procter & Gamble account.
Key clients
: Pfizer, Beiersdorf
Buyer jealousy
: Only around upfront time, although now she's able to get
herself invited to the events she wants to attend.
Favorite TV show
: Breaking Bad
Cool way to use TV
: Formed a partnership with CBS to create Web show 60 Minutes Overtime, in which the
newsmag extends a lifestyle or human interest profile story online, where it is
sponsored exclusively by Pfizer. "It's almost a fourth segment," Weinstein
says. The extra segments are promoted during the show and have been driving
substantial traffic. They have also given Pfizer content to share in order to
get more connected with consumers on social media platforms. "It has been a
very successful partnership," she says.
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