"The opportunity to focus on the medium that commands the most attention by consumers and the most money by advertisers is a really exciting challenge because if you believe that the way we plan, buy and execute TV as we know it is changing, then there's no better place to be," he said.
Mr. Gerber, 34, stepped into the position after more than three years at WPP Group's The Digital Edge, New York, where he was senior partner-director of media strategy. There, he became a digital marketing and media expert, advising marketers like Campbell Soup Co. on online media strategies.
His mix of traditional and non-traditional media experience made Mr. Gerber ideal for the P&G team at MediaVest, said Laura Desmond, CEO. "Adam embodies convergence-one foot in the traditional media world and one foot in the new digital world," she said. "Convergence means that there are going to be new models applied to the traditional world," she said, adding that Mr. Gerber's appointment came as a result of ongoing conversations between the agency and P&G.
Mr. Gerber will try to apply his expertise in interactive research issues to interactive TV. "The big challenges, as with any situation where a medium is evolving, will relate to standardization and research issues. It's difficult to get beyond tests if there aren't common business practices [and metrics] for implementing larger-scale rollouts," he said.
The move to MediaVest brings Mr. Gerber full circle. Apart from the fact that he was born in Cincinnati, Mr. Gerber began his media career at MediaVest in 1992-his latest gig marks the third time he's worked for the company. His very first assignment as an assistant media planner at the now defunct D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles was for P&G brands Clearasil and Formula 44. (DMB&B was part of MediaVest at one time).
During his agency career, he worked on P&G paper and oral-care products, and implemented online efforts for Pampers. Mr. Gerber even did a stint at America Online, where he managed its mutual-fund center and implemented programs for Reebok and auto brands. At the now-defunct Ammirati Puris Lintas, he worked on Unilever brands, UPS, Goldman Sachs and Labatt USA.
Mr. Gerber hopes to apply some of the lessons he's learned from confronting digital media to the new world of interactive TV and other new media. "Transformations don't happen overnight," he said, citing the rise and proliferation of automatic teller machines, "Consumer behavior is usually not something turns on a dime. Conditioning has to be overcome."
Name: Adam Gerber
Now: Senior VP-group director of strategy and innovation, MediaVest
Challenge: To help P&G navigate a very foggy era in the evolution of TV and alternative media