Photo: Colleen DeCourcy / Twitter
Another year over, and it’s time to reflect. Who really made a difference this year?These 17 executives stood out for their outsize influence on the course of events in advertising and marketing in 2012 — for good reasons, and bad.
Some of them scored huge victories.
Others suffered big failures.
A couple were fired.
Here’s what we learned from them.
A lot of ad agencies produce great, compelling work on a couple of accounts but use several boring accounts to actually pay the bills.
Not so at Wieden + Kennedy.
On client after client -- think P&G's Old Spice, Heineken, Facebook and Nike -- Wieden's team consistently raises the bar. W+K was agency of the year at Cannes.
Dan Wieden isn't doing this all by himself, of course. But he's created a hothouse environment in which good work thrives in several different locations. Most agencies fail at that.
A year or so ago, American Apparel looked like it was about to go bankrupt. Sales were down. The stock was under $1. Charney was beset by bizarre litigation.
And then something weird happened. Charney closed a bunch of stores, boosted his wholesale and internet businesses, and got new financing. Now sales are up.
The stock is still in the toilet and Charney is still the target of bizarre litigation, but fundamentally the company is healthier than it's been for years.
They said ads on Facebook would ever work but ... the social network books more than $1 billion a quarter in sales. Facebook's business is growing at about $200 million per quarter. The company's vp/global marketing is now a permanent fixture on Madison Avenue.
Millennial Media now books nearly $50 million per quarter in revenue from its network of ads served in apps. Millennial is probably the second biggest display network on the planet.
She's 38, a mum, smokes, and she's still the most-wanted model by advertisers. Her face has defined the modern look of fashion advertising since the 1990s.
The team at Duval Guillaume taught us that you don't need to be in New York or on TV to make the best advertising ever seen.
This Belgian agency was responsible for the massively viral TNT ad, 'A dramatic surprise on a quiet square,' one of the most-watched YouTube commercials of the year.
It followed that with 'Unlock the 007 in you,' a stunt in which ordinary commuters are suddenly forced into a James Bond style foot chase through a crowded railway station.
This agency is simply punching WAY above its weight.
The music-streaming company's CRO is managing a $100 million per quarter ad revenue business, and most of Pandora's users are on mobile devices. The lion's share of that was developed this year.
Linds Redding's heartbreaking essay (written before he died of cancer) railing against a life spent in advertising which, he ultimately concluded, was not worth it, reminded us that we need to get things in pespective.
Redding, a former Saatchi and BBDO art director, died in October age 52.
The CEO of digital media agency Socialistic shocked the ad world this year when she wrote a column for Digiday about sexual harassment in the ad business. It's rare for a chief executive to talk so bluntly, and so personally, about the topic.
The CEO told Wall Street he would cut his marketing budget to rely more on 'free' earned and viral media in Facebook and Google. He then laid off 5,000 people from his company. Change is going to be hard, evidently.
The former General Motors chief marketer lost his job after pulling a $10 million ad budget from Facebook and then signing a hugely expensive sponsorship deal with Manchester United. Sometimes companies need new blood to kick arse internally. But you've got to bring people with you as you do so ...
Nike and other sponsors committed $30 million or more per year to marketing efforts around Armstrong. That's a lot of eggs in one basket. Tying your brand to an athlete has risks. They're human, after all.
Mobile advertising is easiest to understand in piecemeal form. App networks; mobile web banners; text message campaigns and so on.
But Velti's CEO has built a $62 million per quarter business offering all of the above.
The vp of Microsoft Advertising Business Group learned a hard lesson this year when he went against the ad industry's wishes -- despite the fact that Microsoft takes in millions of dollars in ad revenue -- and supported a default 'do not track' signal in the new Internet Explorer 10 browser.
The ad industry revolted and vowed to ignore it -- instantly rendering IE10 the least private browser available.
When is the right time to launch a new phone? When Apple is about to launch iPhone 5? of course not ... unless you're Samsung. In which case you leverage the iPhone publicity for your own benefit by creating a campaign that draws attention to your product -- the Galaxy S III -- by attacking theirs.
They take a long time to turn around. Longer than owner Interpublic Group was willing to give him -- he was let go this year after a two-year period at the helm of McCann in which the agency failed to regain its momentum.
It's not entirely clear how Baumgartner's jump from space was supposed to sell energy drinks, but boy do we love a spectacle!
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