Welcome to the Adweek 50, our annual celebration of corporate leaders shaking things up, raising the bar and continually redefining the marketplace. They take calculated risks and reap big rewards, leaving little to chance in the process. These executives are all keepers, indispensable players working below the CEO level, and sometimes behind the scenes, to grow business, spur innovation and generate value across the ever-changing marketing, media and technology landscape.
Be sure to also check out our cover story on Adweek 50 honorees Barbara Messing and Andy Dunn of Walmart.
You want to know what’s happening with Twitter’s advertising under Leslie Berland? A comprehensive rundown would take way more than 280 characters. She’s revitalized most aspects of the brand’s communications outreach in order to make Twitter appear more welcoming to the general public. Efforts include the overarching “It’s What’s Happening” mantra and “See Every Side,” a push with celebs like Chance the Rapper and Shaquille O’Neal highlighting users’ diverse viewpoints. Also, she originated the “Here We Are” movement to support women’s voices in tech and beyond, airing a powerhouse commercial during the Academy Awards.
“Money is changing.” That was the theme of Visa’s kicky campaign targeting millennial women with the goal of starting a conversation about spending in the digital world. In a broader sense, the phrase also describes Biggar’s overarching theme for 2018, as she staged high-profile activations at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the FIFA World Cup, Super Bowl LII and New York Fashion Week touting the increasingly sophisticated ways Visa helps consumers pay for stuff. She’s also leaned hard into card-free “sensory branding,” developing a suite of soothing sounds, animations and vibrations designed to reassure phone payers that their transactions have been successfully completed.
Frank Cooper III
In his two years at BlackRock, Cooper has sharpened the global investment firm’s marketing mission, taking a mobile-first approach and focusing on short-form stories with a shift toward social media. He’s leveraged machine learning, data and human expertise to target clients based on their values and behaviors, and forged a partnership with Acorns, an app that helps users save and invest. “For those who want to build sustainable long-term businesses while also meeting rising expectations, you have to clearly define your purpose,” says Cooper. “But that purpose needs to be authentic to who you are as a brand, and has to fulfill some core human need or unmet aspiration.”
Elevated from executive creative director as the year began, Costello rose to the challenge, helping to right the ship after her predecessor, Joe Alexander, left the agency under a cloud of sexual harassment. She played a key role in campaign launches for Land O’Lakes (spotlighting female farmers), Sling TV (“Slingers”) and Virginia Tourism (“Virginia Is for Everyone”), while forming a talent and culture division led by former Obama administration official Kelsey Larus. “We’re all about progress over perfection, and I’m a big proponent of bringing people into the process,” Costello says. “Building something together is not only empowering, it’s creatively inspiring.”
Upped to CPO four years ago, Cox plays an increasingly vital role in shaping the company’s offerings and public image. “Facebook’s story is at an inflection point,” he said in August, welcoming former HP exec Antonio Lucio as the social network’s global CMO. “We have never faced bigger challenges, and we have never had more opportunities to have a positive impact on the world—in our families, our friendships, our communities and our democracy—by improving our products at their core, and then by telling the story outside that we all know to be true inside.”
“Progress isn’t about embracing change—it’s about igniting it,” DeRiso says, and she puts such preaching into practice for clients large and small, positioning PHD as a purveyor of smart, disruptive strategies. During the 2017 holiday season, PHD helped Google sell 7 million of its Home devices by creatively integrating the product into hit TV shows. (That initiative was named an Adweek Media Plan of the Year.) At the other end of the spectrum, for Oatly’s U.S. launch, PHD placed billboards near coffee shops that sold the oat milk to drive sampling, and bought ads in publications like Poets & Writers and The Atlantic.
At the home of the Grand Slam Breakfast, Dillon keeps hitting ’em out of the park. In addition to bringing “America’s Diner” into the digital age through a mobile-ordering app, he’s cooked up some tasty promotions. These include a mammoth rolling restaurant to serve breakfast to those afflicted by natural disasters, and a collaboration with Disney around Solo: A Star Wars Story that featured trading cards and a charitable tie-in. “We are a brand rooted in our love for feeding the bodies, minds and souls of our guests, and we constantly push to leave them in a better place,” he says.
Pamela Drucker Mann
Drucker Mann continues to leverage Condé Nast‘s legacy across platforms and events designed to boost the bottom line. Efforts range from Condé Nast Prime, which packages content into buys targeting millennial and Gen Z viewers, to the Women’s Video Network with Glamour as its lead brand and OTT channels for Wired and Bon Appétit. Drucker Mann also helped expand the Spire audience-targeting product, which includes dozens of categories and demos. Results have been impressive, with the company on track to enjoy its best Q4 in terms of ad revenue, following a Q3 record for revenue across paywalls, subscriptions and other products.
The NBA scored record revenue in the 2017-18 season, expanding its hold on American popular culture while extending its global clout. El’s game plan, deftly mixing mass-media outreach with social plays, helped guide that championship performance, enhancing the league’s standing as the premier sports promotional partner for brands large and small. She recently launched the latest chapter of the NBA’s “This Is Why We Play” campaign that focuses on motivational stories about teams, players and fans. Influencers du jour Famous Los and Filayyyy suited up for the effort, which strives for chill street cred and cross-generational appeal.
Falco, a 12-year veteran of the WPP-owned media agency, manages a team of more than 25 investment strategists across brands such as Hotels.com, Mars, Pella, Uber and Whole Foods. She was instrumental in MediaCom’s recent victory in the pitch for Mars’ buying and planning business, worth a sweet $750 million domestically, and played a key role in the agency’s Adidas and Ally wins. “Her ability to interpret communications strategy and translate that into an investment strategy is unmatched and has been invaluable in contributing to our new business success,” says Sasha Savic, CEO of MediaCom USA.
Ferro weathered the surprise mid-upfront cancellation of one of her biggest upfront bargaining chips, Roseanne, emerging with double-digit CPM gains for ABC in what was the overall company’s most successful upfront, including strong demand for her new suite of advanced advertising offerings, Luminate. In September, she was promoted to president of Disney advertising sales and partnerships, adding ESPN to her portfolio (which already includes ABC, Freeform, the Disney channels and the Disney Digital Network) and putting her in position to oversee and monetize prized networks like FX and National Geographic after the Disney-Fox merger closes. —Jason Lynch
Thanks to Griffin, Intel, famous for its “Inside” positioning, is thinking way outside the box these days. This summer, the company dispatched drones and AI to inspect the Great Wall of China and facilitate repairs. Other projects include using VR to provide immersive experiences for the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and launching a learning lab tour to take innovative teaching methods nationwide. “We share captivating stories about how Intel technology is making a meaningful difference,” she says. By weaving such narratives, “we’re expanding Intel’s brand domain and relevance and engaging our audiences’ minds and hearts.”
TicToc’s time has arrived. Grossman helped launch the 24/7 news service, streaming live on Twitter, securing sponsorships from seven global brands. The product should generate eight figures in revenue during its first year. “We’ve been bullish on evolving how our content is accessed by users against an ever-changing landscape of consumption habits, and in how we can add value to our partners,” he says. Bloomberg’s digital revenue rose 13 percent in the first half, and Grossman projects that the company as a whole will finish this year with double-digit growth across all platforms.
In June, Haley audaciously swapped pancakes and syrup for beef patties and fries with the “International House of Burgers” campaign, which ranks as the most loved, hated, debated and buzzy stunts in the dining sector this year. “We just needed to elevate the brand’s cultural relevance in a deliberately disruptive—but also fun and funny—way,” he says. Cooked up with Droga5, the push generated millions of tweets (including some sizzling exchanges with Burger King, Chili’s and Wendy’s), social conversations and media stories, along with a sizable sales surge during the weeks immediately following the IHOB rollout.
Hartman was there nearly 10 years ago when Accenture Interactive launched, and he’s played a key role in building the practice into a global juggernaut that gives the holding companies fits. Recent moves include savvy acquisitions (notably digital agency MXM), bold partnerships (including a three-year deal with Disney’s StudioLab to devise tech-focused “entertainment experiences” for Mouse productions) and a ballyhooed push into programmatic services. That’s all cutting-edge stuff, but as Accenture’s capabilities expand, Hartman strives to keep the focus on customers and “delivering experiences that improve their lives. The best tool for marketers today isn’t creative, technology or data—it’s empathy.”
Neil Heymann, CCO, Colleen Leddy, Chief Media Officer
Heymann and Leddy were each promoted into their posts a few months ago, tasked with leading the iconic shop past a rough patch fraught with client defections, layoffs and the abrupt dismissal of creative chief Ted Royer. Respected for their management acumen and dedication to innovation, they’ve jump-started momentum, attracting assignments from Essentia Water, Google and Hershey while launching the “Truth” campaign for The New York Times and IHOB for IHOP. “As we look to solve new challenges across an incredibly fractured and incredibly sophisticated media landscape, creativity will be the main catalyst of solutions,” Leddy says.
Hollis continues to accelerate Toyota’s transformation from a carmaker to a company that provides broader mobility solutions by championing investments in emerging tech to enhance accessibility and transportation for people with disabilities. His inclusive approach extends to the brand’s marketing, and he went all-in for the Super Bowl, airing three spots, including “One Team,” with a group of religious leaders from different faiths finding common ground over football. Other moves include a gold medal presence in the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games (poetic ads touting the freedom of movement), and a deal with Oath to target younger consumers via livestreaming concerts.
Relax, the machines aren’t coming to take all our jobs away—just yet. In fact, the continued adoption of AI, AR and robotics should spur hiring in the near future, as organizations seek “reskilled” workers to meet a heightened technological demand. Those were the findings of a recent Deloitte survey that Jackson, an expert on competitive growth strategies who lectures worldwide and frequently provides insights to the broader business community, shared with Middle Market Growth magazine: “Talent is really the key to unlocking the broader potential of these emerging technologies, and it’s driving business value greater than it’s ever been in the past.”
Comcast tapped Jenckes to strengthen the cord between the cable giant and advertisers. Given the company’s scale, his initiatives have a broad impact on the entire industry. Last month, Comcast’s ad management platform FreeWheel launched Drive, allowing brands to plan, buy and measure across new and emerging forms of TV, and joined with global mar-tech firm 4C to streamline the buying of OTT and linear inventory. “It’s a rapidly evolving and exciting time for the industry,” Jenckes says, “one that’s filled with tremendous opportunity when we harness the incredible reach, unprecedented scale and powerful storytelling that TV offers marketers.”
Meredith Kopit Levien
All the content that fits. Kopit Levien is positioning the company as a multimedia player across TV, film and digital. At the April NewFronts, she noted, “The Daily [podcast] has more listeners than the weekday newspaper has ever had.” FX subsequently committed to 30 episodes of news program The Weekly. Other projects include The Fourth Estate, a Showtime series chronicling the paper’s newsroom in the Trump era, a Netflix multipart documentary based on The New York Times Magazine’s Diagnosis column and a proposed Hollywood movie about the newspaper’s dogged Harvey Weinstein reporting.
In digital advertising circles, Google and Facebook are oft described, with equal parts envy and awe, as the Duopoly. Pretty soon, thanks in large part to Kotas and his team, we’ll be talking about the Triumvirate, or Big 3. That’s because Amazon’s ad business is on fire, with JPMorgan predicting a huge increase north of $4.5 billion this year. Agencies have begun launching Amazon-dedicated divisions, and, in September, the ecommerce giant burned away some internal clutter by phasing out its many marketing brands and consolidating operations under the Amazon Advertising banner.
Lee fine-tunes the mix to ensure that brands and listeners groove together in harmony. For example, through its “Fans First” initiative, Spotify identifies the top listeners for artists by geography and invites them to attend brand-sponsored events. (When BMW wanted to tout its X2 to a hip, young audience, it joined with the streaming service for a Chicago event featuring cutting-edge D.J. Matoma, who boasts a big Windy City following.) She also fosters inclusion through “Black History Month Is Happening Now” (boosting year-round cultural awareness) and a boot camp program for female podcasters of color, which drew 18,000 applications for 10 slots.
A thought leader in the digital innovation and security field, Lowcock in April became the industry’s first C-suite-level brand safety officer, working to ensure that ads from marketers such as BMW, Exxon Mobil, Johnson & Johnson and Sony don’t appear near questionable content. At the same time, he helped launch the 4A’s Advertiser Protection Bureau. “Now is the time that the digital industry must hold itself to higher standards across the board,” he says. “In the year ahead, we need to demonstrate that agencies, advertisers and platforms deserve consumer trust. I am excited to help lead this charge for digital to be a force for good in society.”
Since taking the marketing reins at Pepsi NAB in January 2017, Lyons has built a reputation for crafting entertaining and high-profile brand experiences that really, well, pop. Big Super Bowl plays included the “Pepsi Generations” launch, an epic rap battle for Doritos Fire and Mtn Dew Ice (one of the most popular ads in the game), and Justin Timberlake’s halftime show. He scored extra points for the successful rollout of Bubly sparkling water, leveraging a partnership with Giphy (over 3 billion views), a Neil Patrick Harris segment on The Ellen Show and an Oscars ad blitz to claim 6.3 percent market share.
Mapes’ reputation as one of the industry’s most effective CMOs just keeps climbing. Of course, “Keep climbing” is the carrier’s tagline, and Mapes, in his 10 years as chief marketer, has piloted a fleet of memorable efforts that underscore Delta’s commitment to providing a great flight experience and enriching customers’ lives through travel. Recent examples include a visually exhilarating, globe-hopping spot that turns a dining table, a wooden dock and a bridge (among other things) into runways, and a playfully surreal stunt with armies of mom look-alikes guilting people into flying home to see their real mothers (with airfare comped, of course).
In his first full year as Fox’s ad sales chief, Marchese kept on innovating as Comcast and Disney fought for control of his company. He leveraged the addition of Thursday Night Football to secure high-single-digit CPM increases in the broadcast prime-time upfront, along with significant volume hikes. Marchese will depart after the Disney-Fox merger, but not before continuing to trim ad loads: On three Sunday nights this fall, he rolled out JAZ (Just the A and Z) pods—a 60-second unit with just two ads each—and branded content Fox Blocks, which reduced traditional commercial time by 50 percent. —J.L.
McDonald joined from PubMatic in late 2017, ahead of AT&T’s merger with Time Warner, to help build new advertising and analytics company Xandr, its name a hat-tip to Alexander Graham Bell. Now McDonald believes—particularly after the recent absorption of ad-tech giant AppNexus—that he has the pieces in place to create a powerful marketplace to serve the entire video-content ecosystem, with transparency and addressability as his watchwords. “As we go forward, what we’ve got to figure out is how do we make advertising less interruptive, more meaningful to the consumer’s experience and much more relevant,” he says.
Barbara Messing, SVP, CMO Andy Dunn, SVP, Digital Consumer Brands
Under Dunn, who founded men’s apparel brand Bonobos, Walmart has acquired fashion players Eloquii and ModCloth and launched mattress and bedding startup Allswell. Online sales are expected to grow 40 percent this year. Messing, who arrived this summer from TripAdvisor, will seek to demonstrate the value proposition of Walmart’s expanded omnichannel programs, such as Grocery Pickup, free two-day shipping with no membership fee and Easy Returns with the Walmart app. “It sounds odd for a Fortune 1 company,” says Dunn, “but we’re operating at a level of scrappiness and speed that reminds me exactly of the early days of building Bonobos.”
As Viacom continues to expand its portfolio beyond networks, with new acquisitions like WhoSay, Awesomeness and VidCon, and branching into live events such as Comedy Central’s Clusterfest and Nickelodeon’s SlimeFest, Moran has been maximizing those new revenue streams. He secured Viacom’s strongest upfront pricing increases in five years, with CPM hikes in the mid to high single digits for its non-kids networks and double-digit growth among its Nickelodeon networks. The company quadrupled its upfront deals for its Viacom Vantage data platform, which Fox is now licensing to power its linear optimization product. Moran also helped bring the fledgling Viacom Digital Studios to its first NewFront in April. —J.L.
While some of Hulu’s streaming-service peers are struggling with monetization, Naylor is leading the charge, bringing in $1 billion in ad revenue last year. He’ll easily top that in 2018, as ad-supported minutes on Hulu (which now boasts more than 20 million U.S. subscribers, including its live TV offering) have nearly doubled year over year. He secured more than a 50 percent increase in 2018 upfront revenue, as well as a 30 percent jump in overall sponsorship deals. Naylor more than doubled the size of Hulu’s ad-tech and product team this year, leading to big innovations like downloadable ads, which will debut early in 2019. —J.L.
Named Big Blue’s first CMO two years ago, Peluso is credited with streamlining the tech giant’s marketing appeals as IBM accelerates its transformation into an AI and cloud-services company. Internally, she’s revamped the way her 5,000-person marketing department operates, stressing shorter deadlines, better pairing of data analysts and creatives and smaller, more focused teams. And, in an industry awash in bro culture, she’s remained fiercely devoted to building and motivating a diverse workforce. “There’s never been a better time to build inclusion into the fabric of a company than now,” she says.
As part of his mission to transform the Jeff Bezos-owned media property into a cutting-edge digital publisher, Prakash led development of the Arc CMS. What began as a technology experiment offered free of charge to select universities has grown into a powerful software-as-a-service platform powering not only the Post, but also other publications across the country. In effect, while upgrading his own company’s capabilities, and opening new revenue streams during a time of intense competition for advertising and subscriptions, Prakash created a business that is having a positive impact across the entire industry.
Waiting in checkout lines at the grocery store is so 2017. “With Amazon Go, we worked backwards from the customer and thought about how we might alleviate a pain point in the physical retail experience,” Puerini says. “Most people don’t like to wait in line, especially when they’re hungry and short on time, so we set out to provide an experience where customers could walk into our store, take the good food they want and leave.” Currently, folks can visit these cashier-free stores in Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle, with more locations coming soon.
This acquisitive rainmaker engineered two huge deals in 2018 to strengthen Adobe’s position in the cloud as it battles Salesforce, SAP and Oracle. Rencher added b-to-b software marketing firm Marketo—with over 500 partners and an engaged marketing community of 65,000 members—for $4.8 billon, marking Adobe’s biggest buy yet, and ecommerce outfit Magento for $1.7 billion. Such moves will help Adobe deliver “transformative customer experiences across industries and companies of all sizes,” Rencher says. Analysts agree, calling the strategy enlightened and necessary as stakes in the cloud-marketing wars continue to rise.
In January, Rodriguez was promoted to president and COO of Univision Networks, where she oversees the company’s entertainment, scheduling, production and marketing operations. She led Univision to its 26th consecutive broadcast season win among Spanish-language networks in total viewers adults 18-49 and adults 18-34. This fall, Rodriguez is improving Univision’s ratings by diversifying programming with new hit shows like Amar a Muerte and Jesús. On the marketing side, she launched the pro-social campaign “Se Habla USA,” to promote the value of diversity, inclusion and the important role Hispanic culture and the Spanish language play in America. —J.L.
Jo Ann Ross
It’s been a bumpy year for CBS, between suing its parent company and the September departure of embattled CEO Les Moonves, but Ross has kept the ad revenue pouring in for acting CEO Joseph Ianniello. In her first upfront with an integrated broadcast and sales team, Ross emerged with double-digit CPM increases, while introducing a new advanced advertising offering, CBS DnA. She’s also monetizing CBS’ rapidly expanding OTT portfolio, including CBS All Access, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ and ET Live. Next up for Ross: overseeing ad sales for a little February program called Super Bowl LIII. —J.L.
Saegh-Fleming’s penchant for innovation runs more than skin deep, which made her the perfect pick for L’Oréal CMO in May, when she was promoted to succeed Marie Gulin-Merle, who left for Calvin Klein. Previously, Saegh-Fleming spent four years guiding transformative marketing efforts at the high-growth Luxe division, overseeing ecommerce, CRM and media for a portfolio including Giorgio Armani Beauty & Fragrance, Clarisonic, IT Cosmetics, Yves Saint Laurent Beauté and Urban Decay. Now she leads more than 30 brands in an expanding omnichannel drive that leverages smart sampling, AR and livestreaming to beautify the bottom line.
It’s been just six years since Netflix’s first series debuted, but Sarandos has more than made up for lost time, spending a whopping $8 billion this year on original shows and movies like The Crown, GLOW and Ozark and new entries like The Haunting of Hill House and Wild Wild Country. That output helped Netflix—which now has 137 million global subscribers—end HBO’s 17-year streak as the outlet with the most Emmy nominations (it had 112 in all, and 23 wins). Sarandos has the industry on its heels again after signing many of TV’s top creators, including Ryan Murphy and Kenya Barris, to exclusive megadeals. —J.L.
These days, Socher and his team are all talk—and that’s a good thing. They’ve upgraded Einstein, the AI platform that powers Salesforce, to understand verbal commands. Such functionality, accessed via smart speakers like Alexa and Siri, will help clients save time when they update their CRM databases, and also allow them to summon voice briefings on demand. Socher also led development on a system that lets companies build voice-bots to enhance customer service. “I’m excited to see how this area develops into actual natural language understanding and fully conversational assistants for everyone,” he says.
After the AT&T-Time Warner merger closed in June, Speciale delivered a welcome gift to her new owner in the form of double-digit CPM upfront increases and volume growth in the mid-single digits. She also brought in five times as many upfront dollars for Turner’s audience-based targeting, while the company’s upfront digital spend increased 60 percent year over year. Speciale will now have the benefit of leveraging AT&T’s data as part of the company’s major addressable advertising push. Plus, she’s transitioning the entire truTV schedule to a limited commercial interruption (LCI) format, which will cut ad loads by 50 percent across the entire network by 2021. —J.L.
Talk about a baptism by fire: Discovery CEO David Zaslav tapped the former Scripps ad sales chief to lead the combined company (17 networks in all) following the Discovery-Scripps merger in March, just two weeks before its first upfront presentation. Yet Steinlauf pulled it off, overseeing an upfront that yielded as much revenue as any stand-alone cable network group. Highlights included a major rate of change for ID, a new Discovery Premiere package (which offered brands first position in first-run episodes of the portfolio’s 30 top-rated shows) and securing 10 times as many dedicated commitments as 2017 for audience-targeting platform Discovery Engage. —J.L.
She really gets it! Since rejoining the online investment firm from TD Ameritrade two years ago, Stendahl has consistently developed fun, memorable marketing. Her work includes a high-profile Super Bowl return that focused on saving for retirement and featured a “Silver Squad” of elderly cheerleaders. “We crafted our communications plans to recapture our irreverent, challenger-brand swagger,” she says. “‘Don’t Get Mad, Get E*Trade’ touched a nerve with individuals, as it’s built on a human truth: Dissatisfaction is the engine of progress. I’m excited to see this insight resonate with consumers and contribute to doubling our pace of new account growth over the last year.”
Adweek’s reigning Global Agency of the Year is best known as a creative powerhouse. Yet W+K displays consistent innovation in media as well, thanks to Teherani-Ami, a 26-year agency veteran, and his 120-person team. High-profile efforts include Nike’s “Breaking2,” which saw W+K join with Uncle Toad’s Media Group, Dirty Robber and Mindshare for a multiplatform livestream viewed by 20 million people. Inventive placements for Old Spice ranged from a GQ ad containing a full-sized, scented disposable paper blazer to Squid, a live, multiplayer game on Twitch.tv exploring the challenges of manhood.
Wesley ter Haar
Shortly after winning 15 Lions (including four golds) at Cannes for clients such as Google, Nike, Reporters Without Borders and Volvo, ter Haar and his fellow monks scored gold of a different kind when Martin Sorrell outbid his former firm, WPP Group, to acquire the global creative production company for $350 million. Ter Haar, known for his easygoing leadership style and skill at hiring great talent, will play a vital role in the new paradigm, as MediaMonks, which has grown to 11 offices and 800 employees since its formation 17 years ago, seeks to expand its global footprint.
Known for her no-nonsense strategic thinking, this seven-year agency veteran has long been a rising star, and in June she was named an equity partner at the independent shop. “At a time when the role of agencies is increasingly being diluted, we know creative business partnerships have never been more important,” Thiagarajan says. “Creativity is the only thing that can make businesses more meaningful, more desirable and more valuable to real human beings.” This approach informed Mother’s recent winning pitch for the Virgin Voyages cruise line, and guides ongoing efforts for Stella Artois, the New York Public Library and Target.
One of the industry’s most prominent female executives and a champion for women’s advancement in the workplace, Vandeven spent 18 years building VML into a player on the global creative stage, earning a reputation for experiential advertising across a range of clients (and winning 21 Lions at Cannes this year alone). In September, she was chosen to head the combined 2,000-person creative department when WPP Group merged VML with Y&R. She is also a founder of Time’s Up/Advertising, a group of female leaders seeking to address the industry’s issues with sexual harassment and gender inequality.
Dirk-Jan van Hameren
A 25-year company veteran, van Hameren ascended to CMO at the world’s largest athletic apparel and footwear company as the year began, following an impressive stretch as global general manager of Nike Sportswear, where he oversaw Air Max, Air Force 1 and Tech Fleece apparel. To say that Nike has since upped its marketing game from an already exalted level would be an understatement. Colin Kaepernick, in one of the most stirring spots of the year, became the night-striding embodiment of the “Just Do It” ethos, vaulting the brand into the cultural stratosphere to celebrate the 30th anniversary of that iconic tagline.
Last month, Bahamas resort Atlantis, Paradise Island, picked Saatchi N.Y. as its lead agency. But for Vyas and her team, tropical vacations will have to wait. They’re hard at work designing brand experiences that combine digital and real-world elements to drive consumer engagement and build maximum buzz. Recent notable projects range from Tide’s high-flying #BradshawStain and #TideAd activations tied to the last two Super Bowls, to a moving 2017 event for the National Down Syndrome Society, with a pop-up bistro in Washington, D.C., run by 40 people with the condition as its centerpiece.
Yaccarino kicked off 2018 with a bang by amassing $1.4 billion in ad revenue for NBC Sports’ Super Bowl LII and Winter Olympics telecasts in February. She followed that with more than $6 billion in upfront sales, which topped every other media company. This fall, Yaccarino unveiled “prime pods”—60-second units of audience-targeted advertising in NBCUniversal’s 50-plus prime-time original series—as part of her larger initiative to reduce ads by 10 percent on those shows. Plus, she’s working to fix the industry’s measurement issues with NBCU’s new CFlight unified advertising metric, which measures live, on-demand and time-shifted commercial impressions of episodes on every platform. —J.L.
Young made front-page news in July, succeeding David Carey as president after five-plus years leading Hearst Magazines Digital Media. “Our business is very ad dependent, and that’s OK because we’re really good at serving advertisers, but we have to think about revenue diversification,” he told Adweek shortly after his promotion. “The retail environment is shifting massively, and we need to play a really big role in that shift.” Recent moves include launching data and product studios to better develop and target audience segments, and rolling out a new business and membership model for enthusiast brands such as Runner’s World and Bicycling.