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Armed with an undergraduate degree, Annette Cerbone was poised to make her mark in broadcasting as a journalist at CBS. But a network hiring freeze altered her course; instead of a job with Dan Rather, CBS gave her a lead on a media job at ad agency Tatham-Laird & Kudner.

Twenty-four years later, Ms. Cerbone, 45, is in the top media spot at TBWA Chiat/Day, New York, as media director of corporate broadcast and research for U.S. and Canada. She was promoted to the post this summer following the departure of Corporate Media Director Stacey Lippman. All TBWA Chiat/Day media functions report to Ms. Cerbone -- with her responsibilities including national broadcast buying, spot buying, corporate research and direct response.

Ms. Cerbone, a 13-year veteran of the agency and previously director of national broadcast, says its "business as usual" at the media department following her promotion. She continues to interact with clients, negotiate at a national level and deal with buying issues at a local level.


At the same time, however, she says she is intent on improving the agency's media research.

"Media research is going to be needed more and more as audiences continue to fragment. We need a fix on that for our local and national clients," says Ms. Cerbone, adding that she also plans to integrate media research into the new-business area. "Media research hasn't been as important as it could and should be."

Ms. Cerbone has worked on the selling side as well as the buying side, and perhaps that has helped her develop a big-picture vision for the direction of TBWA's media department.

As a one-time Manager of Marketplace Revenue for ABC network, Ms. Cerbone worked on audience share, profitability, programming costs and sports contracts.

"When I first went over [to ABC], I never anticipated learning the things I'd learn," says Ms. Cerbone, adding that the network experience allowed her to "put on the hat to see how the business works on the other side."

During her tenure at TBWA Chiat/Day, Ms. Cerbone has worked closely with diverse clients including 10 years with Nissan Motor Corp. USA and its Infiniti division, Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation, Gramercy Pictures, Polygram and Levi Strauss & Co.'s jeans.

"She's tremendously knowledgeable, particularly in the area of network TV and national cable," says Karen Gustafson, advertising media manager for Nissan's Nissan and Infiniti divisions. Ms. Gustafson has worked with Ms. Cerbone since 1989.

"She's a very aggressive negotiator. I'm glad I don't sit across the table from her," says Ms. Gustafson.

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