Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Words from the wise: Advertising Age's 2008 Women to Watch, part two...

Once again, it is my sincere pleasure to share some brief thoughts (below) from or about the impressive individuals honored in Advertising Age's May 30 Women to Watch Special Report. This year's honorees -- recognized for having redefined the future of their fields -- are featured here, along with each of the others chosen for this illustrious distinction over the past 12 years. Interested in further exploring women's evolving roles in marketing from the perspectives of a "Who's Who" panel of experts? If so, click the image here for more information on a fascinating event organized by The ADVERTISING Club, which is set for June 26 at The New York Athletic Club and is entitled, "The Status of Women in Marketing, Advertising and Media...and Its Impact on the Bottom Line."

Candice Kersh, Partner, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz: "There are issues that cross so many fields. Intellectual property rights, right of publicity, truth in advertising and convergence, what constitutes advertising. My contribution is to look at what the creative vision is and not to say no."

Caroline Slootweg, Director of Digital Marketing and New Media, Unilever: "Unilever is a great place to work for women, and the internet is an inherently female space. It's everything women love -- chat, connection, sharing knowledge and thinking -- and it's getting more feminine with changes in tools and applications; it's less aggressively male and more intuitive."

Kris Kiger, Senior VP - Managing Director, Visual Design, R/GA: "The marriage between design and what traditional advertising is, along with useful functionality, is the sweet spot."

Maryellen Torres, VP - Marketing, A.J. Wright: "She understands intuitively the connection between a brand and every expression of business, from its stores to the way someone answers a phone to what your trucks on the road look like," says Murray Stranks, Senior Director-Strategy at Watt International, a branding and retail design agency, who worked closely with Ms. Torres on a new store prototype for Meijer's.

Melisa Quiñoy, CEO, Dieste Harmel & Partners: "The exponential growth in the Hispanic market continues to be mind-boggling to me, and the biggest change is how the growth is shifting. The biggest growth is going to be coming from Hispanics born here, and their media-consumption habits are completely different."

Lynda Clarizio, President, Platform A: "The challenge with me, right now, is that I'm president of Platform A and responsible for all of AOL, for our own business to the ads sold in the third-party network. My biggest challenge is to grow and effectively operate the businesses as one. My first strategy is to have a clear vision and move quickly."

Maureen McGuire, Chief Marketing Officer, Sears Holdings Corp.: "Creating brand positioning for each of these [Sears and Kmart] brands and making sure the company stays true to them, that's really building the foundation. We're very pleased with the beginning of the results, but I honestly believe this is just the beginning."

Kavita Vazirani, VP - Media Director, Comcast Corp.: "We want people to just understand what our products are capable of. It's not just high-speed internet. It's about what allows you to really connect with a loved one through sending pictures of your kids. It's about digital voice, watching great movies in HD through digital cable, using on-demand to work out in the morning. ... You can't look at each product in a silo anymore."

Nancy Hill, President-CEO, American Association of Advertising Agencies: "She brings vision to her role, and it doesn't surprise me one bit that she's continued to grow and to take on increasingly bigger challenges," says Sara Slater, Ms. Hill's best friend and former colleague at advertising agency Doner. "She thrives in the industry because she loves it."

Mary Beth West, Executive VP - Chief Marketing Officer, Kraft Foods: "Mary Beth brings to the CMO role a consumer-centric approach to business challenges, a passion for breakthrough marketing and a long track record of success in building Kraft brands," says Irene Rosenfeld, Kraft Chairman - CEO.

Jane Hu, Head of Business Operations, Vuguru: "The ad industry right now has not completely understood for web video what we are trying to do, so it does take a lot of different sources of revenue added together to monetize effectively."

Tara Walpert Levy, President, Visible World: "The onus is on advertisers to keep commercials fresh, interesting and relevant. Our technology makes that possible."

Vivi Zigler, Executive VP - NBC Digital Entertainment and New Media, NBC Universal: "Product placement isn't about putting a Coke can on a table. Maybe a fruit juice is looking to be used in recipes, but maybe the cooler version is to build out a web series with your friends building their own restaurant. You have things you might not think about, like our out-of-home network, video screens in elevators, taxicabs, in stadiums. ... Each property will have its own unique distribution plan."

Annette Stover, Chief Operating Officer, Euro RSCG: "One well-known headhunter told me that because of my French accent, I'd never amount to anything in U.S. advertising."

Helen Clark, Corporate Marketing Manager, Chevron Corp.: "Our chairman feels very strongly we should become a nation of energy savers, and for every bit of energy we save, it's like finding new energy."