The Strategists -- TV's Top Media Planners

RELATED: Media Business Planners Ride Waves of Change

Blankfein_EricEric Blankfein

Chief of Horizon Media's Where Group
Glen Head, N.Y.
George Washington University
First media job:
Assistant buyer at Vitt Media, working on accounts
including Macy's, Dow Chemical and L.A. Gear footwear.
Buyer jealousy:
"I knew very quickly I didn't want to be on the buying side
and moved to the planner strategy side. I always was a strategist at heart and
it was nice to be the guy talking about ideas."
Favorite TV show:
Top Gear on
Key client:
Where Group helps all of Horizon's clients find the most
efficient environments.
Cool way to use TV:
Integrated the Geico gecko into footage being shot for
History's series Vikings. Geico was a
presenting sponsor and had exclusive first-pod advertising, Blankfein says.
Geico buys a lot of sports and Vikings
provided a chance to expand its audience. "Both from a cost perspective and
from a content environment perspective, to get something that truly immersive
it was a great deal for us," he says.

Cardamone_AndreaAndrea Cardamone

Senior VP, group account director, PHD
Washington Township, N.J.
Fairfield University
First media job:
National buyer at BBDO on Pepsi.
Buyer jealousy:
"If you would have asked me back then if I would ever
be a planner, I'd probably say not in a million years," she says. But after
doing movie marketing both at a studio and doing buying and planning at an
agency, she couldn't turn down an opportunity to head planning and strategy on
the HBO account.
Favorite TV show:
Veep. "This
season is hysterical," Cardamone says.
Cool way to use TV:
HBO created a half-hour making-of special for Game of Thrones that aired as a
roadblock on TV stations in major markets including New York, Los Angeles and
Chicago, on some cable channels, local cable and on in-hotel networks. "Because
it's a competitive network we don't have the luxury of planning TV the way
other categories can," Cardamone says. "The people who weren't watching it had
these pre-conceived notions that it was just about fantasy, it was just a genre
they didn't like. You can't expose people to much in a 60-second spot, so we
thought this would be a great way to expose a mass audience to the show." The
campaign helped make Game of Thrones
a ratings winner in its second season.

Cioffi_TaraTara Cioffi

Senior planning director, Maxus
Bergenfield, NJ.
Age: 39
University of Delaware
First media job:
Cioffi studied to teach French and Italian, and started
her job as assistant media planner on the Cover Girl account at Grey
Advertising while waiting for her high school teacher to retire. "It was a
great experience and I never looked back," she says.
Buyer jealousy:
"One thing I do like about a lot of what we do is negotiate
and talking to different reps of different vendors, so yes I did think about
it," she says. "I also enjoy having the relationship with the client."
Favorite TV show:
Cioffi can't get enough of procedural crime dramas. "You
name it I watch it," she says, ticking off NCIS,
NCIS: LA, CSI and Criminal Minds. "Even
if I've seen the episode five or six times, I will still watch it again,"
because sometimes she forgets who done it.
Key client:
Panera Bread
Cool way to use TV:
Panera has a program called Sandwich Showdown done in
conjunction with Discovery Communications' networks TLC and Destination
America. The networks created content designed to get viewers to create their
own sandwiches and enter them in a contest and then vote on their favorites.
The winner was announced in a vignette on-air and was featured in Panera cafes.
The sandwich, turkey, white cheddar and apple on asiago bread, was the chain's
most popular panini, Cioffi says.

Hagel_MacMac Hagel

Senior VP, strategy, Zenith
New York, N.Y.
Penn State
First media job:
Assistant media planner at Creative Media, which later
became PHD. Worked on the Discovery Communication account when Animal Planet
was launched.
Buyer jealousy: "I never wanted to
be a buyer I always like to complete the project rather than one aspect of the
project and strategy has allowed me to get into the process early from day one
and really see how it comes together," Hagel says.
Favorite TV show:
House of Lies,
though the "first season was better."
Key client:
Chase banking, credit cards and corporate initiatives.
Cool way to use TV:
The agency arranged a large multiplatform integration
for Chase's mortgage business with HGTV's House
that ran online and in the HGTV magazine, as well as on TV. "We
were trying to move into content and content distribution, so we had a
partnership where our app is actually featured in the episodes during the house
hunting process. At any point in time, the broker or buyers could get a
mortgage quote, see what houses are available in the market using the app,"
Hagel says. Chase was able to use the video content and distribute it on its
own platforms as well.

Harrington_JasonJason Harrington

Senior VP, managing director, Optimedia
Santa Rosa, Calif.
First media job:
Assistant buyer, at California agency Davis- Elen, which
did regional buying for McDonald's and Toyota.
Buyer jealousy:
"Being a buyer back in the day, I always felt was very
transactional and I really wanted to get into the bigger- picture, strategic
angle of things," Harrington says. "There's a little more client interaction,
and that was just cool to me."
Favorite TV show:
Breaking Bad
Key client:
Cool way to use TV:
"Right now we're really big on leveraging data from TV,
so we rely a lot more on social data to inform our decision as opposed to
relying only on Nielsen to become part of the conversation, those virtual water
coolers that are appearing through second screens and Twitter and Facebook,"
Harrington says. For a T-Mobile product launch, the agency bought a 20-network
road block, leveraging old-school tactics and new-school data to create greater
accountability. "The biggest thing to take away is we've moved from using
ratings points to using conversations and making decisions based on what people
are talking about," he says.

Hartell_RichardRichard Hartell

President, Human Experience Strategy, MediaVest USA
Birmingham, U.K.
Manchester University
First media job:
Started at a Birmingham TV consultancy that critiqued agency media plans. He had no
experience, so the agency execs "got very annoyed by me," Hartell recalls.
"Eventually I realized it would be much better to be on the other side of the
fence and actually producing plans rather than criticizing them."
Buyer jealousy:
"When I first started, we used to have planner-buyers," he
says. "I was a fairly poor buyer so they made me become a planner. I was
reasonably good at that."
Favorite TV show:
The old British comedy The Morecambe & Wise Show. Also: The Sopranos, before he became James Gandolfini's neighbor in
Tribeca. "He was a lovely man," Hartell says. The actor invited Hartell to a
New Year's Eve party and "his Jersey born and bred family looked like they
could have been in The Sopranos."
Key clients:
Heineken, Coca-Cola, Mondelez
Cool way to use TV:
When Tide was used to clean up an oil spill resulting
from a crash at the Daytona race track, the agency worked with Procter &
Gamble to mount a campaign. In two hours, the cleanup was Tweeted all over the
place, within 48 hours a TV spot was create and within 52 hours, it was on the
air, Hartell says. "That shows the way that you can use real-time topical news
around events now and get them onto television in a very quick and topical way."

Hernandez_OmaraOmara Hernandez

VP, planning director, Initiative
The Bronx, N.Y.
Colgate University
First media job:
Assistant planner at American Express account at
Mindshare, working on everything from local co-op business, to SkyMiles and
Small Business to the Green card.
Buyer jealousy:
"The beauty of being a planner, at least on the non-TV
side, is you get to do a little buying when it comes to print, out of home, and
some digital," Hernandez says. "So we do get a little bit of that. I never
wanted to go over to the buying side."
Favorite TV show:
Breaking Bad.
Also Dexter, Game of Thrones, Veep.
Key client:
Cool way to use TV:
A Hyundai Tucson is integrated into one of the hottest
shows on TV, The Walking Dead. "It's
a true partnership and the car is really integrated into the story line,"
Hernandez says. "They're running away from zombies in the car, running over
zombie heads. We have a ton of passive and active integrations on the show and
it really feels like one of the characters." The partnership has grown beyond
TV with the vehicle having a role in The
Walking Dead
comic book, making the integration a full 360-degree deal.

Hukkanen_JaimeJaime Hukkanen

Senior VP, client business partner, UM's J3 unit
Sparta, N.J.
First media job:
Assistant media planner on Kohl's at UM. "I am still here.
I'm a lifetime UMer," Hukkanen says.
Buyer jealousy:
"No I don't think I have that in me. I'm more of a seller
than a buyer," she says.
Favorite TV show
: "I'm embarrassed to say, but it's The Bachelorette," she says.
Key client:
Johnson & Johnson's McNeil division
Cool way to use TV:
"In the first quarter, we were coming back to market
for the Children's Motrin brand. We developed a really great partnership with Live! With Kelly and Michael," Hukkanen
says. The campaign was about celebrating moms and it culminated in featuring
three real moms and their families and the things that make them "Unstoppable"
being featured on the show. "We worked with the producers to have our campaign
idea be rooted in the spirit of the program," she says. "When you bring the
personality of the brand to life through a program deeply integrated into the
show, it's more meaningful to consumers and it brings your brand to an elevated
place with the consumer."

McAteer_AndreaAndrea McAteer

Managing partner, client lead, MediaCom
Brooklyn, N.Y.
St. Thomas Aquinas College
First job in media
: Owned a dancing school, but turned to media after
getting a degree in both English and math and started out doing buying and
planning at Tatham-Laird & Kudner, N.Y.
Buyer jealousy
: Before joining MediaCom, McAteer was hired by Initiative to
work with Bayer in a buying capacity and had to learn buying at a relatively
senior stage in her career. "Now I feel I have a much more balanced approach to
the business," she says.
Favorite TV show:
"Impossible to choose," she says. Some picks; Revenge, NCIS, Warehouse 13, Rizzoli & Isles and King & Maxwell.
Key client:
Cool way to use TV:
We always look to go beyond just the 15-second or
30-second spot and we spend a lot of time looking for the right integration,"
McAteer says. "One of the things we're most proud of is the Aleve sponsorship
of Jeopardy!." The Aleve name appears
on each player's podium at the end of the game, alerting intelligent viewers to
the best analgesic, she says. "We find that if we direct people to a particular
URL and you change it on Jeopardy!,
sure enough they come."

Walters_SethSeth Walters

Partner, communications planning director, Mindshare
Jericho, N.Y.
Age: 31
Buffalo University
First media job:
Started at MediaVest, working on communications planning
for Continental Airlines, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart.
Buyer jealousy:
Walters says he never thought about being a buyer. "I was
more attracted to more of a hybrid role that focused more on understanding that
taking a consumer-first mentality is important in creating impactful media
programs," he says. "I've always felt more like a marketer being on the
strategy side."
Favorite TV show:
Breaking Bad
Key client:
American Express
Cool way to use TV:
Mindshare helped Amex launch an interactive brand
channel in 58 million homes over DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon FiOS, AT&T
Uverse, Cablevision and Samsung connected TVs. The channel has been adding
entertainment programming, including the American Express Unstaged series of
streamed concerts pairing musicians with a well-known director, such as Vampire
Weekend and Steve Buscemi. "It's really been an interesting way to position the
brand and reach consumers in a new way, make them look at American Express in a
different light," Walters says.

Weeks_DianeDiane Weeks

Managing Director, OMD
Rockville Centre, N.Y.
Age: 37
New York Institute of Technology
First media job:
Assistant media planner at Y&R working on brands like
Dannon, Guldens and Chef Boyardee
Buyer jealousy:
"Figuring out how to connect consumers with the exploding
media landscape really excites me," says the new mom. "I think it's creative
and different every single day. Buying could never excite me in the same way."
Favorite TV show:
Mad Men
Key clients:
J.C. Penney, Discovery Communications,
Cool way to use TV:
"More and more we see unique content being developed
online to reach new audiences and build up engagement," Weeks says. The agency
helped create a tweet-powered moonshine distillery to promote the show Moonshiners on the Discovery Channel.
Viewers were able to suggest various flavors of moonshine they'd like the
distillers to produce by interacting with a special Twitter feed. Some of that
content ran in the show. And in its second season finale, Moonshiners was the second-highest rated show on TV in its time



Senior VP/strategy director, Starcom
Beeville, Texas
Duke University
First media job:
Media assistant at GSDM account supporting planner-buyers
on the Wal-Mart, Dreamworks and AT&T accounts.
Buyer jealousy:
"I'm very analysis focused. I like solving problems," says
Williams. "I think that planning was a direction that very much suited my
aptitude. I like communicating with the client. As I've grown into a more
strategic senior role, I really enjoy getting into client business and
understanding when media decisions influence the business and where business
decisions should start to influence the media."
Favorite TV show: Homeland. "I can't miss it," she says.
Other favorites: Downton Abbey, Inspector Lewis and Scandal. Also Law & Order.
"I've seen every episode like three times," Williams says.
Key client:
Best Buy
Cool way to use TV:
"For Best Buy in the holiday season last year we did a
big partnership with The X Factor on
Fox," Williams says. "We did an on-air live integration where we brought a lot
of the electronics that we sell to the show and integrated it into the story
line on Thanksgiving, just before Black Friday. We got to showcase a lot of the
hot products that we sell while making it very tangible for the contestants."
Online sales were through the roof. "Everything suggests that what we did last
holiday was positive," she says.