Lisa Seward

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As reality TV shows like "The Restaurant" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" attempt to blur entertainment and commerce with mixed results, two marketers working with Fallon Worldwide have taken the industry to school while bagging a couple of top Cannes lions.

Much of the credit belongs to Lisa Seward, media director of the Fallon North America division of Publicis Groupe.

The agency's groundbreaking 2001 Internet film series, "The Hire," for BMW North America in 2002 snagged a Grand Prix Cyber Lion.

This year, Fallon took home the Grand Prix Media Lion for turning business-to-business ads for Archipelago Exchange into "appointment TV," ads that run like a mini-TV series, on CNBC.

Both demonstrate Ms. Seward's media philosophy of putting the consumer point of view ahead of the media point of view into media planning.

"Many of our clients feel they have the best case of consumer insight being applied to media, but [the Archipelago campaign] may be the best example of media and creative collaboration," says Ms. Seward, 39, who's been with Fallon since 1996. She joined from Leo Burnett USA after nine years. "You don't see a lot of that today. That's what I've tried to do my whole career."

Getting CNBC's attention

Because the New York Stock Exchange dominates the financial world, tiny, Chicago-based Archipelago couldn't get CNBC to cover it.

So Fallon made them an offer they couldn't refuse. The agency created and produced a daily opening program for CNBC-a must-see channel for Wall Street players-that featured three characters in search of the right sound to open the electronic exchange. But the idea hinged on CNBC agreeing to give the exchange the 7:59 a.m. pre-opening slot to air the 60-second commercial created as "Archipelago's The Open Show," rather than be lumped in a commercial pod.

"We were absolutely convinced that this idea worked only if we could get this done this way," says Ms. Seward "Had it been in other commercials, it wouldn't work."

She let her resolve drive the negotiations, which went up to the General Electric Co.-owned channel's management suite, and the "program" aired as planned, generating buzz around the show. Unaided ad awareness shot to 33%, higher than for even the New York Stock Exchange, which outspent Archipelago 10-to-1. Archipelago's order volume grew 64% in one quarter (September 2002 to January 2003).

"We paid for it, but they covered us at that time and it got us huge recognition," says Margaret Nagle, marketing manager of Archipelago Exchange. "Those are the kinds of things that I've never really seen from anybody else in media placement. Lisa and her team challenge us as clients and gave us alternatives we'd never thought of in our wildest dreams."

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