"I was a diehard Democrat and they all knew it too," said Mr. Maltby, 34. "That didn't mean, of course, that I didn't do a good job for Republicans. That's what I was paid to do." Now Mr. Maltby is working as a right-winger once again; that is, as the right-hand man to Marc Goldstein, MindShare's president of national broadcast and programming.
Mr. Maltby's rise has been rapid. Following his political apprenticeship, he joined D'Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles (now owned by Bcom3 Group) in 1989, where he was assistant media director, managing national TV buying for General Motors Corp., Kraft Foods, General Foods Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co. Four years later, he jumped over to Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, owned by WPP Group, to manage national TV strategy and buying on Hershey Foods Corp., Ryder, Mattel, Gillette Co.'s Duracell and Sandoz Pharmaceutical (later Novartis Consumer Health Group).
At Ogilvy, Mr. Maltby worked under Julie Friedlander, then managing director of national broadcast, and later under Peter Chrisanthopoulos, who was hired from ABC as president-national and local broadcast. Mr. Maltby was a central figure in several big account wins at Ogilvy as well as additional assignments from existing clients. For example, Ogilvy added Hershey's cable buying to its agency of record assignments; was awarded Mattel's children's TV buying consolidation; and gained agency of record status for Novartis' TV buying responsibilities.
"Jason is one of the most talented executives in the media-specialist business," said Mr. Chrisanthopoulos. "I had the privilege of working with him for five years and relied on him throughout the transition from Ogilvy to the Alliance to MindShare. He was instrumental in all our upfront negotiations."
The Alliance, a media buying and planning joint venture between WPP siblings Ogilvy and J. Walter Thompson USA, was a direct precursor to MindShare.
"Basically, for two years we were dating," Mr. Maltby said. "You were looking at two different media cultures, coming from J. Walter and Ogilvy. Each side brought something different to the table."
The venture morphed into MindShare when Irwin Gotlieb was recruited as its chairman-CEO in August 1999. Earlier this year, Mr. Gotlieb recruited Marc Goldstein, the former exec VP-managing director for Interpublic's GM Mediaworks, General Motors' media-buying agency. Mr. Goldstein replaced Mr. Chrisanthopoulos, who left the agency for start-up Hispanic TV network Azteca America in New York. Mr. Goldstein quickly picked Mr. Maltby to be a lead partner on his team.
"I didn't have to look very far," Mr. Goldstein said.
So how does Mr. Maltby spell potato? "Without an `e' at the end," he said. "The three things I remember from working on the Bush/Quayle campaign are that potato spelling bee; when Mike Dukakis had his picture taken in the tank; and when Quayle posed with the rocket launcher, which was pointing at him, about to blow his head off."