Water Cooler Group Taps Media Vet Christina Norman to Succeed Antony Young

Ms. Norman's Experience Includes Almost Two Decades at MTV

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Christina Norman
Christina Norman

Water Cooler Group has hired former Viacom exec and OWN chief Christina Norman to succeed Antony Young as CEO.

"We were aligned in our approach to dealing with brands, to marketing brands, and the strength they have in working for cable networks and doing tune-in work," Ms. Norman said. "I saw their work up close. To have that great, high-touch creative approach to media and marketing was really impressive to me."

Ms. Norman first interacted with WCG, the network that houses media agency network Mediastorm, in her most recent role as a consultant working for one of Water Cooler Group's clients, she said.

Her role as a consultant was preceded by a number of high-profile media gigs, including a two-year run as CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network. She joined in 2009, following three years as president of MTV, where she oversaw celeb-reality franchises such as "The Hills" and "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila." In total, she spent 17 years at MTV Networks, where she also oversaw MTV's on-air promotions department, which she describes as an in-house ad agency.

Her experience is aligned with a shop like Media Storm, a company that built its business on the back of media and entertainment clients such as FOX, Food Network, Starz Entertainment, ABC Family, Viacom and Open Road Films.

However, despite a lengthy career in media and marketing, she's never actually worked at an agency. "With what we're looking at now -- the shifting of this industry and the different consumption [behavior], and how people are watching and not watching and how marketers are connecting -- they wanted someone who didn't have an agency background," she said.

Still, it won't be a huge shakeup for a long-established agency network. Water Cooler Group was created two years ago when Media Storm founders hired Mr. Young to repackage its offerings, including Media Storm and its specialist groups: creative agency Maude, social shop Hip Genius (later renamed 3Degrees) and interactive TV group Bolt. The network acquired data and technology shop JubaPlus in the summer of 2014.

Under Mr. Young, the relatively new agency network has diversified its portfolio with a handful of non-media brands, including Memorial Sloan Kettering, Resorts Atlantic City and Mohegan Sun Online gaming sites and NJOY Electronics Cigarettes.

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