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Jon Diament

Executive VP of Ad Sales and Marketing, Turner Sports 6/06/2009 02:00:00 AM Eastern

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Turn off the lights

Jon DiamentJon Diament has spent the past 20 years working his way up and around Turner Broadcasting. Diament, a self-confessed sports nut, was senior VP of sales at CNN before being plucked by boss David Levy for his dream job running sports ad sales. Levy describes Diament as “among our most valuable personnel assets.”

During the last 12 months, this MVP has been finding ways to help advertisers score sports sponsorships that don't just make the hard sell but entertain and involve viewers with the company's properties, which include NASCAR, the NBA, MLB and professional golf.

Turn off the lights

His unique initiatives have included a 2008 promotion called Sharp Lights Out Challenge for Sharp Electronics during the MLB playoffs. The idea was to encourage viewers to turn out lights to conserve energy. Viewers were asked to report how many lights they turned out at a Website that also hosted a competition to win a new Sharp TV. Anderson Cooper appeared on TBS' MLB coverage to promote a CNN show, Planet in Peril, that tied in to the theme as well.

“In sports, it's really important to have a true passion for what you do,” Diament points out. “Sponsorships need to be a naturally enhancing experience; that's why we can't partner with all requests.”

As a child, Diament remembers being more attentive to television commercials than the programming. That interest deepened when he studied communications at Syracuse University. After college, Diament joined advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, where he became a media planner and saw how communications plans could be married with advertising creative for greater effect.

Diament joined CNN in 1990, working his way up to run national sales and the strategic integration group. “Turner has great brands and products, but it's the culture and the people that have kept me there so long,” he says. Diament is a golfer and skier, and plays sports with his kids on weekends. But ask him about his favorite sport, and he immediately starts talking about NBA basketball.

With the automotive category hurting, one might think sports would be a tough sell, but Diament says they bring a lot of positive attributes. These include live audiences who are clearly engaged and extremely loyal, and who follow their teams through mobile platforms in addition to TV.

“Our team's goal is to articulate these attributes to the non-traditional marketplace,” he says. “We believe there is a place for advertisers to come into sports for the first time.”—Claire Atkinson

In this story:
Turn off the lights