Name: Tom Cotton
Who he is: President, North America, DDB Integrated Solutions Group
Where he's from: Cotton is one of the first traditional ad agency players to recognize and leverage alternative, entertainment-based marketing solutions. His career has spanned stints at Backer Spielvogel Bates, marketing brands like Philips and Miller Brewing to J. Walter Thompson, where he ran the global Merrill Lynch Account and was instrumental in the agency securing the Qwest Communications business.
%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% What he's done: Cotton was brought into the Omnicom fold by DDB Worldwide's Keith Reinhard and Ken Kaess, currently chairman and CEO, respectively, in the summer of 2000 as an agent for change. He launched DDB Ventures as the global network's unit to figure out "what we do next as a business within the context of an increasingly splintered media environment where if you think that ads are the only answer, you're dead." The unit underwent two iterations, becoming DDB Channels, which, in 2001, started forming relationships with third-party branded content creators such as Banjo and Hypnotic, leading to successful projects such as Unilever's "Degree Road to the Ironman" on NBC, Reebok's Terry Tate TV/Internet play, and the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival. Now called the Integrated Solutions Group, Cotton has institutionalized his initiatives by assigning each of seven senior account managers to each U.S. DDB office.
What's next: "We need to collectively raise the entertainment IQ and that's happening. This is a team sport, not a hermit's pursuit."
Stock-in-trade: "Keith[Reinhard] calls me the dot-connector. That's about teams of people and companies that can make a difference for our clients. We will distinguish ourselves by solving from scratch. We're not looking for late stage brand integration or product placement."