Ted Moon's Job Is to Identify, Engage and Master Emerging Media

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Who: Ted Moon, director, media innovations, Sprint Nextel

Why you need to know him: Mr. Moon oversees all of Sprint Nextel’s online branding efforts, which includes online media buying as well as the development of Web-based branded entertainment initiatives and the extension of the company’s sports sponsorships online, including its title-sponsorship of Nascar racing.

Ted Moon, director of media innovations at Sprint Nextel.

Credentials: Mr. Moon joined Nextel in 1999 initially to manage all direct marketing efforts, including direct mail and direct response print. He soon started focusing exclusively on online marketing, spearheading the online branding efforts for Nextel. Since the merger of Sprint and Nextel, Mr. Moon has added media innovations to his duties. Before joining Nextel, Mr. Moon spent three years at MCI, the last two in the airline partnership program managing the Southwest Airlines and US Airways relationships. He started his career in direct response advertising as an account executive at Ogilvy & Mather Direct, New York, working on AT&T and IBM. He later became a product manager for Newbridge Communications, a book club publisher and marketer.

Your title, media innovations, is an unusual one. What does that mean? “My responsibility is to learn, understand and test all emerging forms of media we can apply to use tomorrow's media to solve today's problems. We use media to our strategic advantage.”

Can you give examples of how you’ve done that? “On the Food Network, we did online ads telling viewers to go to the Food Network Web site and sign up to have shopping lists for the program's recipes delivered to a Sprint cell phone. For ‘The Daily Show,’ Starcom arranged for the show's writers to create a segment called ‘People of Vision,’ which looked as though it was a part of the program's skits. It featured a short history of the cellphone with a man making the first cellphone call in 1975 on a brick-sized phone, a younger man with a ringtone and then a picture of a phone of the future where a woman gets her favorite smell, cinnamon buns, piped into her nose from a cellphone headset. The ad ran as a bumper placement prior to a pod. On NBC's ‘Medium,’ we gave out 3-D glasses."

Why put branded entertainment on cellphones? "Sprint is looking for good content to stimulate data usage [that is, provide content Sprint subscribers can see on cellphones]. We can provide another outlet for them. Potentially, it's a very symbiotic relationship."

What kinds of challenges do you have to deal with? “We've got to find media that fights above our weight. That's our challenge for all media, in particular for new media. We also are looking to find creative new ways to stimulate demand for data [wireless speak for content usage, which drives up mobile phone revenue] from Sprint customers.”

How is the media landscape changing? “The way most people understand media consumption is changing. The balance of power between the consumer and the advertiser has shifted to the consumer. The consumer has control of what they consume, when they consume it and where they consume it.”

How will Sprint Nextel position itself in that changing landscape? “Our main strategy is to explore, learn and align ourselves with opportunities that best leverage this changing media consumption landscape. We see change as opportunity. It's easy to get scared because there are changing rules of the game people are operating under.”

What types of branded entertainment projects have you recently produced? “We have done long-form Sprint Nascar content, a three-minute Nascar TiVo Showcase about Nascar’s heritage. The test was very, very encouraging -- there was a lot of opportunity for us to showcase Sprint and also initiate a marketing dialog with TiVo subscribers. People were very engaged. It gives us a lot of confidence for more, broader programs.”

What entertainment platforms might you pursue in the future? “The video-on-demand space is a very, very interesting and exciting place to be. It's where the future of media consumption is headed.”

And how about the so-called third screen as a medium? “We intend to use the third screen, our phones, to connect with our customer and prospective customers. We have an opportunity to market to our customer base.”

You’re a history buff. What about history inspires you? “General Lee relied on his cavalry at Gettysburg and failed them and led them into a trap. He didn't function as the eyes and ears to get ahead of the main marching arm. We will be the eyes and ears as media landscape changes so we can apply what we know to our army. I also get inspiration from World War II veterans. I am friendly with a sergeant who was one of the 'Band of Brothers' who went into Europe as a paratrooper. He jumped into Normandy on D-Day, but was dropped into the wrong drop zone. He did well because he was so well trained. He was 24 and led a group of 18 and 19 year olds. They fought through and did their job. Like him, we need to be innovative, improvise and adapt."

What’s your background? “My parents are Korean and I spent a few years there. Ironically, Korea turns out to have one of the world's highest per capita broadband usage. The quick fingers you see! They're really cutting edge. Maybe it's in my blood."