Who's afraid of Tim Armstrong? Everyone, it seems. Google's VP-advertising sales and operations struck terror into magazines, testing ads in titles on behalf of Google advertisers, then scared witless the TV industry with an offhand comment about testing TV brokering. Yes, Google's might is huge. And yes, you can expect to see more ad plays from the search giant. How far will Armstrong stretch? Watch all spaces.
2 The Hon. Richard Berman
Judge Berman is the man who made possible Shona Seifert's infamous code of ethics. Seifert, as you may recall, received an 18-month prison term for her role in a scheme by some Ogilvy & Mather executives for overbilling the U.S. government. The resulting 18-page document he sentenced Siefert to offered such advice as "Speak Up," "Stay True to Your Values" and "Don't Break the Law."
3 Neil French
He just looks like trouble. That's what an Ad Age reporter wrote about Neil French, the now-former WPP creative director, who called female creative directors "crap" at a Toronto event. (He later "clarified" his statement.) With one remark, French landed back in the headlines. And yes, he resigned . He did it, said the unflappable French, "to take it off the little chap" (WPP's Martin Sorrell).
4 Malcolm Gladwell
By declaring phooey on focus groups, the marketing guru committed a heresy that resounded through the research industry. At the Four A's Account Planning Conference over the summer, he said, "the whole point of focus groups is to be able to help us predict what's going to work and what's not. If a focus group cannot do that, then a focus group is actually useless." Which of course, he believes it to be.
5 Steve Jobs
On the first day, Jobs created the iPod, which begat the iPod Shuffle and the iPod Nano. Then he recreated the marketing world by cutting a deal with Walt Disney Co.'s ABC to run TV shows such as "Desperate Housewives" on the iPod. Suddenly media companies rushed to make digital content plays, and the networks realized that consumers will actually pay for programming-without commercials. It's nothing short of a miracle.
6 Russ Klein
Burger King went from client from hell to dreamy under Russ Klein, who has greenlighted efforts from Crispin Porter & Bogusky that would never have made the storyboard stage at McDonald's or Wendy's. From the creepy King to Subservient Chicken, he's pushed through marketing efforts that have certainly been standout, if discomfiting to some of the chain's own franchisees. Klein certainly had it his way this year; next year, of course could be a different story.
7 Silvia Lagnado
Though it broke in 2004, few campaigns got as much buzz last year as Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty," spearheaded by Unilever global brand director Silvia Lagnado. The push, showing real women of all shapes and sizes, was championed as a breath of fresh air. It was debated on talk shows, Web sites, chat rooms and living rooms and even sparked a trend, as Nikewomen.com celebrated "big butts" and "thunder thighs."
8 Eddie Lampert
In September, just before the key holiday retail season, Sears Holding Chairman Lampert lost patience with his turnaround team and seized the reins himself. He consolidated Sears advertising with Y&R, Chicago, hammering out the deal with WPP Group Chief Martin Sorrell. Then he demoted Sears CEO Alan Lacy and replaced him with former Kmart CEO Aylwin Lewis, while expanding his own role in day-to-day merchandising and marketing duties.
9 Elizabeth L. Lascoutx
As director of the Children's Advertising Review Board, Elizabeth Lascoutx has been leading the self-regulatory group's charge to police food marketing to children. Once a relatively toothless group, CARU is now taking center stage in the debate over the food industry's role in kids' obesity, and it is taking a hard line with marketers. But behind the scenes some are grousing that Lascoutx's group is becoming too aggressive-and overstepping its bounds.
10 Howard Stern
With a landmark half-billion dollar deal over five years, Howard Stern proclaimed himself the king of all satellite radio. That's a lot of ba-ba-ba-booey, but Sirius Satellite Radio is making some of it back already with a ton of free publicity even before Stern makes his debut. And he's gleefully trashing employer Infinity on its own air. Now, it will be up to Stern to put his money where his foul-mouth is, and drum up some business for Mel Karmazin.