Chris Allen, VP/Video Innovation Director, Starcom

Chris Allen’s Starcom responsibilities
include bridging the traditional
world of TV and the much broader
world of video wherever it exists. In
forging a relationship between the
two, Allen, as VP/video innovation director, has
helped create some of the models that will mold
the future of the media business.

Chris AllenAllen invests Starcom ad dollars both in TV and
the addressable-advertising realm—including online
video and mobile. He buys everything from network
TV, cable and Hulu to Apple iPad apps.

As Allen’s title suggests, he’s been a pioneer at the
company, which counts Kellogg’s, Disney and Nintendo
among its clients. He’s a member of a group
called The Pool, a giant R&D operation involving
marketers across the industry that aims to coordinate efforts in the
engagement field. He’s also organized VivaKi, an umbrella unit operated
by Starcom’s owner Publicis Groupe. Allen is also big on pushing
advancements in measurement through efforts such as TiVo’s Power
Watch and Stop Watch, which delve into TV viewing habits and measure
second-by-second commercial viewing.

Such knowledge of how to cross-fertilize best
practices between current models and new ones
is the stuff of the industry’s future leaders, and one
reason the 36-year-old Allen is on our list.

“There are certain things traditional TV can learn
about how to be more granular and provide interactivity,”
he says about comparisons with digital
measurement. “And there are certainly things online
can learn, too: good business practices and the
standardization of ad units.”

Allen studied advertising at the University of Texas
before joining local agency GSD&M, where he spent
13 years working on clients from AT&T to the U.S.
Air Force to MasterCard, as well as restaurant chain
Chili’s. Among his biggest achievements: helping
to put together the marketing and buys as part of
AT&T’s 2007 brand relaunch. His biggest challenge:
figuring out where advertising sits in a world increasingly looking to
subscription models.

“It is certainly one of the biggest questions in the industry today,” he
says. “We have to find the right balance between what consumers are
willing to shell out and what advertising they’ll accept.” It’s yet another
gap Allen is equipped to help bridge.