Take Euro RSCG Worldwide's Ryan Berger, whose specialty is "buzz."
Or Jennifer Davisson, whose clients at talent agency The Firm include Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Hudson.
'Giving them a palette'
For the aspiring Steve Jobs or Donny Deutsch of the next generation, "I don't think you can teach it as much as make [students] aware of the media possibilities. ... It's not so much teaching them as giving them a palette to go do this. ... [The solution is not] just a visual with a cute head, but solving problems strategically with a big idea," says veteran adman Rick Boyko, now managing director of Virginia Commonwealth University's Adcenter. The school each spring graduates about 60 potential luminaries of the ad world.
Mr. Boyko, while getting students to expand their thinking to nontraditional approaches, also believes conventional media will continue to be the dominant platform for advertising.
And plenty of young adults still pursue fame and fortune in that realm. Just look at CBS account exec Adrienne DeSanto.
"Clients are demanding as many different ideas across as many different media as possible," Mr. Boyko says.
Versatility with all media
Twentysomethings are cool with that. They exhibit the interest and versatility to flourish in all mass media, an attribute evident in a survey that youth consultancy Blue Fusion recently conducted on this age demo (go to bluefusion.com to see its "Twentysomethings Report").
"They can multitask and know how to interface with these media," Mr. Boyko says. "All of that is so foreign to somebody 35 years old."
So whether it's Mr. Berger linking up mature brand Polaroid with rap group OutKast, or Ms. Davisson shepherding Mr. DiCaprio into anime via his own production company, or Ms. DeSanto setting her sights on selling prime-time for a top broadcast network, look for these -- and the other 22 young stars profiled in this Special Report -- to rise all across the media landscape.