Consumer attention is fleeting, and only the bold and brave cut through the noise. To that end, media in all of its forms needs to work harder and smarter. This year’s Media All-Stars are not only up for the challenge but steaming ahead to create unforgettable work for brands and exciting opportunities for their teams. Our Executive of the Year, Michael Epstein, led the charge for Carat in the U.S., reinvigorating the agency by investing heavily in talent and training, and the positive results speak for themselves. And Rising Star Nadalie Dias of Hearts & Science developed a system to keep her team energized, engaged and always looking forward. Times are changing, but this year’s class of Media All-Stars continues to stay ahead of the curve. —Doug Zanger
Drew Watson, SVP, Group Media Director, MullenLowe Mediahub
In the lawn-and-garden space, Scotts Miracle-Gro is, as Drew Watson puts it, an “800-pound gorilla” with some serious name recognition. So when his longest-running client wanted something new, the stakes were high. Watson reached out to BuzzFeed’s Product Labs, and after a week of ideation, they created Lunarly, a subscription-based box featuring a plant and an assortment of wellness products. Lunarly, which sells out every month with over $1 million in incremental sales to date, has refreshed a staid category and been a hit with its intended target, millennial women. “If Scotts doesn’t take on the challenge of modernizing lawn and garden, no one is going to do it,” notes Watson.
One of the keys to Watson’s success is moving away from the antiquated cost-per-thousand model to cost-per-incremental visit, using data and insight that better maps customer behavior. This approach was crucial to Mediahub’s landing the $100 million Bloomin’ Brands account last year.
In addition to Scott’s Miracle-Gro and Bloomin’ Brands, Watson leads a portfolio of more than $300 million in media billings that includes Mediahub’s massive Royal Caribbean account, where he presented a unique plan that was modeled on consumer demand instead of just revenue. “It was the best meeting of the year,” says Royal Caribbean CMO Jim Berra.
Looking ahead, Watson has been quick to position his brands in unique new categories and presently is bullish on audio. “The question is, ‘What does your brand sound like?’” says Watson. “There’s a huge explosion in streaming radio and podcasts. Direct marketers are using it effectively, and brands have an opportunity to rethink how to use the platform effectively.” —Mitch Reames
Find out more about the rest of the honourees on Adweek