Power Players, 2008: 1 - 5

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1 MARC
PRITCHARD
Photo: Kang Yafeng
GLOBAL MARKETING OFFICER
PROCTER & GAMBLE CO.
AD BUDGET:
$5.23 BILLION
AGENCIES INCLUDE:
  • Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York; TBWA Worldwide, Los Angeles
  • Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett Worldwide, Chicago; Kaplan Thaler Group, Publicis USA, Saatchi & Saatchi, MediaVest USA, New York; Starcom MediaVest Group, New York and Chicago
  • WPP Group's Grey, New York
  • Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
  • POWER PLAY:
    After shepherding a corporate restructuring that hasn't been fully revealed but already includes a 15%-plus cut in P&G's senior management, Marc Pritchard became global marketing officer in June. He brings more line-management street cred than any top P&G marketer since the legendary Robert Goldstein. Mr. Pritchard, 48, also has a reputation for tightfisted cost control and demanding validation for any marketing activity.
    DOWNSIDE:
    "There's always a right time and right place for each leader," Mr. Pritchard's predecessor, Jim Stengel, said upon his departure. A couple of months later, P&G Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley called the current economic climate the worst P&G has faced in more than 30 years. You get the point. After thumping competitors for most of the decade, P&G has ranked in the low or middle tier of its competitive set in organic-sales growth for nearly two years. Following a big cut in fourth-quarter U.S. ad spending, it's not clear when that trend will reverse. As the power of TV ads wanes, P&G's clout in the medium grows less meaningful.
    2 CATHERINE M.
    COUGHLIN
    SENIOR EXEC VP-GLOBAL MARKETING OFFICER
    AT&T
    AD BUDGET:
    $3.21 BILLION
    AGENCIES INCLUDE:
  • Omnicom's BBDO, Atlanta and New York; DDB Worldwide, Chicago; GSD&M's Idea City, Austin, Texas
  • WPP's Mediaedge:cia, New York
  • POWER PLAY:
    Catherine M. Coughlin, 51, is charged with building a new team as key executives such as VP-Advertising Wendy Clark depart. AT&T continues to enjoy strong wireless-subscriber growth from its deal requiring iPhone buyers to ink AT&T contracts. But it has taken flak for its patchy wireless coverage and connectivity issues with new iPhone 3G technology. AT&T is taking on cable TV companies with aggressive local marketing of U-verse, its bundled-services plan offering wireless along with digital/high-definition TV, high-speed internet access and digital voice service.
    DOWNSIDE:
    Despite its long history and dominant market share, AT&T's brand still lacks a personality. Many customers came aboard reluctantly, and wireless users aren't wowed by its minimal-contact customer-service style. The war to take customers away from cable systems such as Comcast and Cox with promises of superior communications and home-entertainment services will be long and costly. Dazzling features such as the Total Home DVR system (available with U-verse), which enables a homeowner to view recorded content on eight TVs, don't compensate for the fact that AT&T's hybrid-fiber ramp to homes lacks the long-term capacity of a pure-fiber network.
    3 JOHN
    STRATTON
    EXEC VP-CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
    VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS
    AD BUDGET:
    $3.02 BILLION
    AGENCIES INCLUDE:
  • Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson Worldwide, R/GA, Universal McCann, New York
  • Publicis' Moxie Interactive, Atlanta; Zenith Media, New York
  • GlobalHue, Southfield, Mich.
  • POWER PLAY:
    John Stratton, 47, is overseeing Verizon's push into new markets and home entertainment. In the war to gain share from cable TV companies, Verizon's edge is its FiOS all-fiber-optic network, which delivers virtually unlimited voice, data and video capacity into 11 million homes, with no local chokepoints. Verizon Wireless retains strong customer loyalty thanks to reliable coverage and good customer service. Verizon is one of the few U.S. carriers betting on CDMA technology, which the company says could be an advantage when wireless and data eventually go global.
    DOWNSIDE:
    Verizon's FiOS rollout is hobbled by time-consuming local franchise and permit issues, leaving no quick pathway to a national marketing program. In local markets, customer loyalty and market share are at stake as cable companies and telecoms compete with bigger, better bundled telecom-TV deals. Verizon is simultaneously chasing content-distribution deals and experimenting with selling its own advertising through its home-entertainment offerings. It's a lot to ask of a brand whose core wireless customers are enviously eyeing hot new handsets from rivals.
    4 SIMON
    CLIFT
    Photo: Jason Alden
    CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
    UNILEVER
    AD BUDGET:
    $2.25 BILLION
    AGENCIES INCLUDE:
  • Interpublic's Lowe, McCann Erickson, New York
  • Omnicom's DDB, New York
  • WPP's JWT, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York; MindShare Worldwide, New York and Chicago
  • Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York (Publicis owns 49%)
  • POWER PLAY:
    Outgoing CEO Patrick Cescau and Simon Clift have focused on market share for the past three-plus years, and it has paid dividends. Unilever has gone from near the bottom of its peer group in organic sales growth to near the top. Mr. Clift, 48, shed his personal-care responsibilities to become full-time CMO this year. Unilever continues to do well in creative competitions and has led its industry in adopting integrated and digital marketing. A rapid rollout of Clear anti-dandruff shampoo has been among the factors putting Unilever on the march in developing markets.
    DOWNSIDE:
    The appointment of outsider Paul Polman, a Procter & Gamble Co. and Nestlé alum, as CEO means some interesting cultural issues ahead for Unilever. Mr. Polman brings with him a background steeped in P&G training -- including heavy reliance on copy testing. Mr. Clift, his career propelled by successful if risky bets on Axe creative, has been a critic of copy testing. After a strong run, megabrands Dove and Axe have been slowing. Sunsilk's global restage may have helped in India, but the brand is slipping in the U.S. Domestically, deodorant continues to do well and food brands have picked up, but crucial skin-care and hair-care shares are declining.
    5 BRIAN
    PERKINS
    Photo: Kang Yafeng
    VP-CORPORATE AFFAIRS
    JOHNSON & JOHNSON
    AD BUDGET:
    $2.41 BILLION
    AGENCIES INCLUDE:
  • Interpublic's Deutsch, DraftFCB, Lowe Worldwide, McCann Erickson, R/GA, Universal McCann, New York
  • Omnicom's BBDO, New York; DDB, New York and Chicago
  • WPP's JWT, New York
  • Mother, New York
  • POWER PLAY:
    Johnson & Johnson's sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics is a signature accomplishment of the tenure of Brian Perkins, 53, as J&J's top marketing officer, and it went off without a hitch. After roughly a year of slow growth as it integrated a big acquisition of Pfizer's consumer brands, J&J again began posting above-industry-average growth in its consumer businesses, led by skin care, with sales up 12% in the U.S. The conversion of Pfizer allergy drug Zyrtec to over-the-counter has been another major growth driver. J&J continued to innovate in marketing, including the expansion of its BabyCenter portal.
    DOWNSIDE:
    Success in the consumer business can't overcome big trouble in the other two-thirds of J&J's business: prescription drugs and devices. For example, U.S. patent expirations for blockbusters Risperdal and Topamax heightened competition. None of that is Mr. Perkins' fault, but some believe J&J's bold move to sit out the TV upfront may have hurt the company during last year's writers strike. And at least one of J&J's bolder experiments in creativity -- Mother's work on the Rembrandt oral-care brand -- has coincided with significant sales and share losses.
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