"I stumbled into media, like a lot of people," says Tim Jones, CEO of ZenithOptimedia North America, "but I've found that it is a great home. ... The challenge is proving media works. Media investments are under increasing scrutiny, and we need to be a [return-on-investment] agency as much as a creative agency."
WHY HE WAS CHOSEN:
Got HP on radar of college kids with MTV
Had a hand in converting 7-Elevens to Kwik-E-Marts to promote "Simpsons Movie"
By partnering client Hewlett-Packard Co. with MTV to reach out to university students who normally look to Dell or Apple first, Mr. Jones delivered 800,000 sweepstakes entrants -- almost 20 times the number of entries MTV usually is able to accrue.
"It was my personal mission to win a movie account," he says. "The movie business is a wonderful one. ... ROI is implicit in first day at the box office." And in January, Zenith became 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment's media agency of record.
Yes, that means Mr. Jones had his hands in "The Simpsons Movie" hoopla, with a role in the transformation of 7-Elevens into Kwik-E-Marts and the competition of Springfields to host the premiere. (The winner was Springfield, Vt.)
The opening-weekend box office in North America: $71.8 million -- twice what the studio had hoped and a bigger opening weekend than any Pixar animated effort.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW:
Mr. Jones played guitar publicly throughout his childhood and played in various bands (folk, country, rock, punk) through his teens. While he says he never made it, "I still love music and today suffer through weekly jazz guitar lessons. Driving to and from work allows me to sing to my heart's content, but I've definitely frightened a few people down the West Side Highway."