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Juliet Corsinita

Media Director, Taco Bell Corp.

By Published on .

"You remember what I said, right? We get it first," declared Juliet Corsinita as the elevator doors closed. The media director for Taco Bell Corp. had just seen Spike TV's show lineup from David Lawenda, then senior VP-ad sales for the Viacom network, and she was set to snare one of the 2006 season's debut shows, the "Scream Awards."
  • Sought DVR-proof programs

  • Tenaciously insisted on "Scream Awards" sponsorship

Created to honor the best of the horror genre in media ranging from TV to music, the show was a perfect match for Taco Bell's core customers: young men who eat fast food.

Trends show that young adults spend money on fantasy, science fiction and horror; an awards show celebrating them, she says, reflects the chain's "Think outside the bun" ethos. Ms. Corsinita insisted during the meeting that Viacom not take it to other buyers. She reinforced the point at the elevator and got the deal. Such doggedness has earned her the nickname Sparky.

"Juliet has a work ethic and integrity that's surpassed by no one," says Debbie Myers, VP-media services, entertainment and licensing at the Yum Brands chain. "Juliet would come down with her pad and her facts and her rationale and would not leave my office until she was heard. I would say, 'Calm down, Sparky, calm down.'"

It was that kind of tenacity that helped her get Taco Bell management in 2001 to dedicate the chain's entire media budget to national cable by taking money out of prime-time network TV.

Before then, the marketer "spent a lot of time and resources securing what we thought were top-shelf shows," Ms. Corsinita says. "While some shows might look nice on a buy," they didn't do a good job selling food.

By "following the eyeballs," she led the media team to focus on "DVR-proof" programs such as Major League Baseball, Fox Sports and reality shows such as "Survivor." With the "Scream Awards," Taco Bell had a presenting sponsorship, which "overdelivered" on its audience by 76%, she says.

With those results, the one-time aspiring copywriter can say she didn't need to write ads to have ownership of insight-driven ideas.

Ms. Corsinita, 36, will lap a decade at the Bell this month.

An avid TV watcher, the "diehard" fan of the reality show "Survivor" is also now hooked on "Mad Men." Ms. Corsinita was so sad that "Studio 60" wasn't renewed, she wrote a letter to the producers, she says. She manages to stay fit by chasing after her two kids and participating in Camp Pendleton's "World Famous Mud Run," a military-inspired 10K obstacle course.
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