Ones To Watch 2007

So it turns out youth isn’t always wasted on the young. These 16 marketing professionals, all 30 or under, have combined energy, enthusiasm and fresh thinking with intelligence and vision to turn heads around the industry and earn a spot on Marketing‘s Ones to Watch list. Whether they’re managing a brand, dreaming up breakthrough creative, […]

So it turns out youth isn’t always wasted on the young. These 16 marketing professionals, all 30 or under, have combined energy, enthusiasm and fresh thinking with intelligence and vision to turn heads around the industry and earn a spot on Marketing‘s Ones to Watch list. Whether they’re managing a brand, dreaming up breakthrough creative, or developing plans for media new and old, this next generation of marketing leaders has proven they already stand at the forefront of their field. Ones to Watch: Marketing’s Next Generation was compiled from both internal research and nominations from readers, with the final selections made by Marketing’s editors and writers primarily on the basis of work and accomplishments since January 2006. -DAVID BROWN


Andrew Bailey
President,
Proximity Canada, Toronto >> Age: 30

Things move fast for Andrew Bailey. Less than a year after his promotion to senior vice-president, interactive at Proximity Canada, BBDO’s direct, digital and below-the-line division, Bailey was promoted to president in early August.

“He’s proven himself as an exceptionally strong leader,” says Dom Caruso, president of Proximity parent BBDO Toronto. Bailey built his reputation in a number of shops around the world, starting at Leo Burnett before moving to U.K.-based Deepend. He returned home to Canada and expanded FCB Interactive to 35 people from eight in less than two years, and tripled its revenue and profits in 2005. He accomplished much the same while running Proximity’s interactive division, where he grew the team to nearly 50 people from four, and helped the shop win Marketing‘s Digital Agency of the Year in 2006. Proximity is on track to double its revenues this year.

The Omnicom brass have taken notice of Bailey’s leadership. He was one of only six North American Omnicom employees to be invited to its advanced management training in Boston this fall.

“The international network has looked at what we’ve done in Toronto, specifically with digital,” Bailey says, adding that there are plans to transplant the Toronto model into American cities as part of a U.S. expansion. Bailey had a hand in building the new office in Minneapolis, Minn., which is set to open in the coming months. “He has a wonderful grasp of what digital interactivity can do,” says Caruso. “That’s why he was such an excellent choice for this job [of president], because we are seeing digital as central to the future of the marketing communication world.” -JEROMY LLOYD

Nick Barbuto
Director, Interactive Solutions,
Cossette Media, Toronto >> Age: 28

Proof that Nick Barbuto is a geek (and proud of it): 1) there is a small army of Transformers action figures on his desk; 2) he runs multiple online communities for computer lovers, and 3) he has an iPhone and knows how to make it work in Canada. “I’ve probably spent more money on mobile phones in the last couple of years than I ever want to mention.”

An avid videogamer and mobile gadget junkie, Barbuto says he’s been a geek his whole life. But that’s just fine, it’s made him one of the country’s most recognized interactive experts. Often quoted in the national media, he is a former Media Innovation Awards judge and director of the Interactive Advertising Bureau. He’s even co-hosted a few shows on G4 TechTV.

Barbuto graduated from Humber College’s advertising program in 2000 and went straight to Cossette as a media planning assistant on the Nike account. Cathy Collier, senior vice-president, media programing at Cossette, knew they had hired someone special when, just six months after being hired and still just an assistant, Barbuto gave a jaw-dropping presentation to Nike about the value and the future of video game ad opportunities. At that time, Barbuto was already personally exploring in-game ads on his own with his tech-savvy friends. “We’d make fake ads for men’s lipstick or something, just to see what people’s reactions would be.”

Within a year he had become an Internet strategist, and over time morphed that job into one that dealt more broadly with the growing spectrum of digital marketing opportunities.

Today he oversees work for major marketers like Nike, GlaxoSmithKline and Coca-Cola, among others, and his clients love his expertise in an often complicated domain, says Collier. “He’s one of the few people who just gets technology and uses it to communicate better.” -JEROMY LLOYD

Ryan Benn
President and Publisher,
Alive Publishing Group, Richmond, B.C. >> Age: 29

In October 2005, Teldon International hired Ryan Benn as publisher and president of its natural health-focused Alive Publishing Group and its flagship Alive magazine, and gave him a year to turn things around or shut it down for good.

Then 27, Benn had an impressive sales and marketing background, but not a clue about publishing or the natural health industry. Despite his lack of experience, or perhaps because of it, Alive is now thriving. Circulation has increased to 200,000 copies a month from 170,000 and ad revenue is up 22% this year.

“I came in with a blank palette and questioned everything,” he says. Some of the answers included tripling the pay for freelance writers and an awareness-raising ad campaign. He also found a talented but underutilized staff and immediately gave them more autonomy.

Before Benn took over, there was no marketing department, says Kiran Gill Judge, marketing manager at Alive. “Under Ryan’s direction, the magazine completed its first circulation audit, it became a member of PMB and also gained membership with Magazines Canada and BCAMP,” he says.

Clearly a believer that strong marketing will help Alive thrive, this past January Benn hired DDB Canada as its agency of record and increased the marketing spend to around $750,000 for 2007, up from just $75,000 the year he started. -EVE LAZARUS

Philip Camino
Greater Toronto Area Manager,
Rogers Wireless, Toronto >> Age: 28

A Rage Against the Machine concert in 1999 at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens is Philip Camino’s never-look-back moment. The live music lover’s epiphany: to pursue a career involved with the creation of large-scale music events.

However, he would never have guessed his new-found passion would take him to Rogers Wireless, where, seven years later as GTA marketing manager, he’s responsible for the marketing strategy in the company’s most important market.

The 28-year-old Camino successfully manages seven employees, a multimillion-dollar budget and the orchestration of marketing strategies integrating technology and music targeting young cellphone users.

Among his recent accomplishments: arranging for pop star Rihanna’s new album to be launched exclusively on Rogers wireless handsets at the Rogers DJ Stylus Awards; and when attendees for Rogers Wireless Canadian Music Week arrived they received a message from Rogers about the event and its redpipe.ca property.

Of course, Camino does more than just music. Taking advantage of Rogers’ partnership with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Camino staged a domination event at a Toronto Maple Leafs game for the Blackberry Pearl launch. Ticket takers wore Rogers shirts and handed out Leafs/Rogers towels. Inside the arena, visitors experienced Rogers/Blackberry messaging from several media (washroom ads, program guides, banners and digital signage).

James Powell, director of marketing for Ontario at Rogers Wireless, says Camino and his team have been responsible for 38 million brand impressions this past summer alone, almost 30% ahead of target. “Youth wireless is the future of marketing. And you have to be authentic to be able to connect with your target. Phil is able to do that.” -LESLEY YOUNG

Adam Gill
President
Embrace Productions, Toronto >> Age: 25

At just 16 years old, Toronto native Adam Gill was booking emerging indie bands at small Toronto clubs. Now, a decade later and president of his own entertainment marketing firm Embrace Productions, he’s booking music acts to create cutting-edge events for the likes of Bacardi, Skyy Vodka, Rogers and Showtime Networks.

For the latter’s TV show Queer as Folk, Gill created “Midori presents The Babylon Tour,” which features the world’s top DJs performing in concert halls decked out to look like the nightclub in the show. In the gay market, The Babylon Tour has become the leading tour in North America, reaching over 150,000 people since it began five years ago. Gill also produced an event last year at Historic Fort York in Toronto. It then morphed into this year’s Rogers Picnic, which attracted 7,000 people to see such bands as The Roots and The New Pornographers.

“Adam has proven that he’s a leader in this business by connecting brands to artists that are relevant to the target group,” says Billy Melnyk, national account manager for Canada at Bacardi. “Adam understands the target group for the brands he deals with as he’s part of that group and listens to the music that only young adults understand.”

“We build events from scratch and later integrate brands to reach our demo,” says Gill. “It is rare to find a good marriage between events and concerts. We hope our two-tiered model will revolutionize the concert business.” Many believe it already has. -CHRIS DANIELS

Chris Hirsch & Nellie Kim
Writer, Art Director
John St., Toronto >> Age: 29, 30

Chris Hirsch and Nellie Kim are heroes of sorts at their agency, John St. Aside from creating award winning work for clients like Cashmere, Toro magazine and Maple Leaf Foods, the pair were responsible for saving one of the agency’s largest accounts, Auto Trader. Agency executives thought that business would go to a major multinational agency after it was bought by TPI Holdings last year.

“About two days beforehand, we realized this was more than a presentation,” Hirsch says, thinking back to the sleepless nights leading up to the meeting with TPI. “It was more of a pitch,” Kim adds.

Within a week of their initial creative presentation, the duo made another presentation to Auto Trader’s new CEO. “Anyone would have been intimidated and folded, but they killed,” says Angus Tucker, partner at John St. “They singlehandedly saved the account.”

Stephen Jurisic, another agency partner, attributes the save to their ability to walk a client quickly and clearly through the creative process, a skill he wants all his creatives to have.

“[Kim and Hirsch] think about selling as much as they think about the creative process, which is mature for such a young team.”

That combined with their breakthrough creative has made the pair an integral part of the agency’s creative department, adds Tucker. “The awards and attention they have garnered have significantly raised John St.’s creative profile domestically and internationally. They have not only made us better, but bigger.”  -JEROMY LLOYD

Sharolyn Kenworthy
Lead Marketing and Promotions Coordinator,
Toronto FC, Toronto >> Age: 27

Toronto has a reputation for having extremely reserved (some might say boring) sports fans. But Sharolyn Kenworthy has helped turn that reputation on its head.

Kenworthy was responsible for drafting and executing a marketing plan for first-year Major League Soccer team Toronto FC that has beat expectations and proven that some Toronto sports fans know how to have fun.

The club targeted average sports fans and soccer-playing families, but vital to its success was attracting hard-core soccer lovers with existing loyalties to clubs in leagues around the world. To connect with those fans, Kenworthy organized pub crawls for the team’s coach and some of its players; she worked with Amoeba (part of ad shop John St.) to develop ads with the tag line “All for One;” she ensured all season-ticket buyers received a barcoded TFC scarf which was used to get into the first game; and she worked on outreach efforts to fledgling supporters’ clubs.

Her work paid off. TFC initially hoped to sell 7,960 season tickets, but ended up capping sales at 14,000. The goal for average game attendance was 14,670, but by late July the club was getting more than 20,000 for each match. Merchandise sales, TV viewing, corporate investment-all way over target. What’s more, the team has earned a league-wide reputation for vocal crowds and a high-energy game atmosphere.

Kenworthy is humble about the achievements. “I think as much as we went after [hard-core fans], they were waiting and they were listening,” she says.

But César Velasco, TFC marketing manager, says Kenworthy is a “natural leader” and he credits her for blending the different parts of the communications plan. “She always managed to pull them together with perfect execution, on time and on budget, which is amazing.” -DAVID BROWN

Kelly Kretz
Marketing Manager, Refreshment Brands
Vincor Canada, Mississauga, Ont. >> Age: 29

After seven years in marketing, Kelly Kretz was itching for a change, so she enrolled in the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. She’ll complete her MBA in one year and Vincor has promised her a job when she’s done. They’d be foolish not to.

Since joining the company as brand manager in 2004-after stints at Tree of Life and Unilever-Kretz has contributed to double-digit revenue and profit growth (24% and 15% respectively) of Vincor’s cooler category. In 2006, she launched Hydra Vodka Water, a new niche in the cooler category. Working with GJP, she also played a central role in developing Hydra’s positioning: “All that is pure with a touch of sin.”

Kretz says the Richard Ivey School of Business is even writing a case study on Hydra’s launch. “I hope I get 100% in that class,” she says with a laugh.

Kretz has also grown Vincor’s Vex brand through new product development and marketing campaigns. In 2005, Vex’s market share in the cooler category was 9.9%. Now, it’s a top-three spirit cooler with a 12.7% share.

Kretz “has that rare skill of a strong marketing gut combined with the ability to conduct more formal research to hone her recommendations and [execute] flawlessly,” says Daphne Bykerk, a partner at Mandrake in Toronto.

While Kretz loves marketing, her ultimate goal is to be “in a leadership position at a tier-one company.” Future CEO? You bet. -REBECCCA HARRIS

Brady Murphy & Adrian Schauer
Co-Managine Partners,
Vortex Mobile, Toronto >> Age: 29, 28

Three years ago, at one of their many brainstorming sessions over beers after shooting hoops, longtime pals Brady Murphy and Adrian Schauer hit upon a winning idea about mobile marketing.

The technology was huge in Asia and Europe, but not so in North America. “There was a big void in understanding around text messaging or SMS [Short Message Service] at the time,” says Murphy. The pair would zero in on developing cutting-edge marketing technology for North America. Enter Toronto-based Vortex Mobile.

Murphy has the marketing cred, including a few years in account services, while Schauer brings the technical expertise from a stint managing new product development in the wireless industry. The two are an agency match made in heaven, says Michael Keefe, senior director of mobile and interactive strategy at client Carlson Marketing Canada.

“Delving into the mobile industry can be intimidating for some clients. They [Vortex] have incredible knowledge of industry best practices that accompany clear marketing objectives…which takes the guesswork out of the equation.”

David Soyka, consumer marketing manager at Vortex client Levi Strauss & Co., agrees. “They’ve given us flexible, terrific MMS [Multimedia Messaging Services] solutions without elaborate infrastructure.” A recent campaign for Levi’s, which allowed customers to vote on their favourite jeans model (integrating SMS and viral consumer engagement), resulted in more than 16,000 votes. Vortex also enabled a mobile video campaign for Microsoft Canada.

They’ve come a long way since starting up in Murphy’s basement; growing revenues more than 300% in each of the past two years. They’re now working out of a new downtown Toronto office with 11 employees. “Eventually, we’d like to sell and become part of something bigger,” admits Schauer. But until then the two friends will keep shooting hoops, and looking for their next big idea over beers. -LESLEY YOUNG

Christopher Novais
Manager, Events and Marketing,
Woodbine Entertainment Group, Mississauga, Ont. >> Age: 26

It was definitely a long shot: convince young adults to spend their money gambling on horse races rather than, say, online poker games. Not easy. But that’s what Christopher Novais has done, attracting a new customer base to Woodbine Entertainment Group, which operates the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.

Novais, manager of events and marketing for Woodbine, targeted young sports enthusiasts through sponsorships with the likes of the Toronto Argonaut football team and the Toronto Rock lacrosse team. A Sprint to The Finish Line promotion, for instance, features each section at the Toronto Rock game cheering for their horse in a live race on the arena scoreboard. The Woodbine Fillies marketing team, meanwhile, distributed “$5 Bet or Bite” coupons toward horse racing bets. Overall redemption is near 6%.

“We knew it would be hard to get young people to our facility at first, so we wanted to bring the excitement to them,” says Novais.

Novais also worked with Labatt to develop the UMM (Urban Male Magazine) Party, which brought 1,200 mostly males 19 to 34 to Woodbine Racetrack this year, up 35% from last year. So far in 2007, Woodbine has enjoyed a 13.4% spike in total live on-track wagering. Food and beverage group sales are up 4.6%. Hired out of York University following an internship at Woodbine, Novais brought “fresh and creative ideas to reinvigorate a number of ongoing campaigns,” says Ann Scott, director, marketing and events at Woodbine Entertainment Group, of her marketing thoroughbred. “The one thing that has made Christopher a true standout is the pride he takes in his work and the respect he generates from colleagues, which are contributing to a very bright future.” -CHRIS DANIELS

Dayton Pereira
Creative Director, Co-Founder,
Indusblue Inc., Toronto >> Age: 30

Few would-be creative directors can expect to head their own agency with annual revenue of $750,000 and boast of having work shortlisted at Cannes by the age of 30. Dayton Pereira, creative director and co-founder of Toronto-based Indusblue Inc., lives the dream.

Since launching the interactive agency in 2002 with his brother-and a scant $3,000 between them-Pereira’s racked up the awards, including two Cannes Cyber Lion shortlists this year for online games at Nokia’s pushtostart.ca and Nestea’s plungeandplay.com. Indusblue has become a go-to shop for a number of advertising agencies looking to create microsites, online games, social networks and blogs for clients.

The key to his success: “Finding the thing in life you’re most passionate about.” Raw design talent, a love of web technology and a whole lot of moxie-evident in his bold pursuit of a risky new career despite a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto-also goes a long way.

Beating out seven other agencies for the CBC’s Torino winter games web design project in 2005 is a point of pride for Pereira. Landing a Canadian New Media Award in 2006 for the record-breaking site-cbc.ca/olympics garnered 78 million page views, triple the expectation-is simply icing on the cake.

“His imagination is incredible,” says Andrew Lundy, senior producer at CBCSports.ca in Toronto, adding that Pereira’s innovation and creativity are complemented with a strong customer service orientation. What’s next? New, bigger digs for Indusblue’s 10 full-time staff this fall. “The last five years have just been practice,” says Pereira. “As of Sept. 1, we mean business.” Watch out world. -LESLEY YOUNG

Tracy Smith
Account Director,
Ariad Custom Communications, Toronto >> Age: 30

A common problem with many young account people, says Ariad Custom Communications president Michael Beckerman, is they’re happy to act like a waiter or waitress for their clients-just there to take orders. “The easiest thing to do in our industry is to tell the client [they're] right every time,” he says.

But Beckerman knew soon after meeting Tracy Smith that she is an exception to that rule. If a client is heading in one direction, Smith has the intellect and the passion for brands to push back and take them down a different, and ultimately better, road, he says.

More importantly, she understands that businesses only build their brands when they’re engaging their customers instead of just trying to sell them something.

And engaging consumers is what Smith has been doing since joining Ariad in March 2004. For Becel, Smith has made its Heart Healthy Living e-newsletter more robust, with more relevant and accessible information and articles. The result: the subscriber base has tripled. The newsletter isn’t just about selling products, it’s about changing lifestyles, says Smith, who studied new media journalism at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont. after completing a history degree at McMaster University in Hamilton.

For another Ariad client, Scotiabank, Smith has evolved and expanded the bank’s Vault e-newsletter which has more than one million subscribers. Last year she introduced the Money Clip podcast series, which was ranked #1 on business podcasts at iTunes within two weeks of launching.

“It is not self-serving. It is objective actionable advice,” says Smith of the service which is available to anyone, not just Scotiabank customers. “By doing that, Scotiabank becomes the go-to place for objective financial information, and hopefully down the road they will become loyal customers as well.” -DAVID BROWN

Tom Williams
Chief Executive Officer,
GiveMeaning.com, Vancouver >> Age: 28

By the time he was 15, Tom Williams had quit high school and was working in marketing with Apple Computer. He followed that up by consulting for the high-tech industry, and at one point he ran a half-billion-dollar venture capital fund handing out cash to other entrepreneurs with great ideas. In 2004 he came up with his own great idea. Williams combined his marketing and new media expertise to launch GiveMeaning.com, a charitable foundation that uses a social media platform to make philanthropy accessible to any level of investor. The site connects people with charities big and small around the world with 100% of every donation going to the good cause. Williams pays operation costs through corporate advertising.

“I really hadn’t done anything that revolutionary after leaving Apple, but I was looking for that one massive idea that I could dedicate 100% of my energies to,” Williams says. More than 1,200 projects have been started in more than 40 countries, and last year GiveMeaning.com raised more than $2 million in Canada alone.

“GiveMeaning.com has the potential to turn old school company CSR marketing on its head,” says Richard Sandor, managing director, DDB Vancouver. “GiveMeaning.com is true grassroots-an amazing Web 2.0 platform for so many local charities.”

The initiative’s success has much to do with the man in charge. “Few people I have encountered are as clear, intense and as quick thinking as Tom,” says Sandor. “I try to have a double espresso before my meetings with Tom.” -EVE LAZARUS

Tara Wood
Manager, Public Relations
World Wildlife Fund Canada, Toronto >> Age: 26

Tara Wood was determined to be a lawyer throughout university. But instead of battling it out in the courts, she’s fighting to save the planet.

Upon graduating from the University of Western Ontario in 2004, Wood wasn’t ready for more schooling. “I decided to take a crack at public relations because I love working with people,” she says. After an eight-month program in corporate communications at Centennial College in Toronto, Wood landed an internship at WWF. The non-profit group eventually hired her full time, creating a PR position to solely support the marketing team.

“I wasn’t entirely convinced of what PR could bring to our organization until I saw Tara in action,” says Pamela Davis-Ross, VP of marketing and donor relations at WWF-Canada. “And then I was convinced.”

For WWF’s “black cloud” event last November, Wood had 3,000 black balloons-representing carbon dioxide- placed at Metro Hall in Toronto. She used Delicious (a social bookmarking site), YouTube and Flickr to publicize the event, which received considerable local TV, newspaper and blogger coverage.

She also promoted WWF’s “Hotter than I should be” T-shirts, which the editors of Canadian Living wore in a photo in the magazine. The shirt was named one of eTalk Daily’s Top 10 holiday gifts.

While it’s difficult to link earned media to financial results, says Davis-Ross, WWF’s overall awareness has increased to 96% from 77% since Wood joined the organization.

As for what drives her, Wood says, “I’m passionate about the organization and that just grows with each campaign we do.” -REBECCA HARRIS

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