Mandel's quick rise

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Clearly, Madison Avenue has its share of media mavens. But as established in year's past, one measure of "maven-ness" is an ability to mount mentions within the media itself.

By that measure, there is one media executive on Madison Avenue who has taken more initiative than the folks at Initiative Media, has more of an edge among the media than the execs at Media Edge and generates more star power than the leaders at Starcom MediaVest Group.

This siren of the sound bite is MediaCom's Jon Mandel.

With a SPINdex of 289 for media coverage generated in SPINdex's sample of influential media outlets during the 12 months leading up to this year's Media Mavens report, Mr. Mandel has proven that he's not just a media maven, but a media maestro.

The sometimes irascible Mr. Mandel, who is known not to pull any punches with the press, generated more than twice the 1999-2000 SPINdex impact than the next most influential spin meister on Madison Avenue, Paul Schulman of Paul Schulman Co. However, it should be noted Mr. Schulman, who has dominated Media Maven's SPINdexes in year's past, now is semi-retired.

Other runners-up in this year's analysis include New York-based TN Media's media research double-team Steve Sternberg and Stacy Lynn Koerner, who individually ranked third and fourth on this year's chart. Optimum Media Direction USA's chief, Steve Grubbs, meanwhile, knows how to optimize media mentions with a SPINdex of 102, the only other of this year's mavens to break the triple SPINdex digit mark. Rounding out the top 10 are Optimedia International CEO Gene DeWitt, Initiative Media's Tim Spengler, Media Edge's Bob Igiel, Universal McCann's Bill Cella and MindShare's David Marans.

Interestingly, all of this year's mavens did only a mediocre job of generating TV sound bites. Mr. Mandel had two TV hits totaling about one minute of TV news coverage, the same TV exposure as TN Media's Ms. Koerner. OptiMedia's Mr. DeWitt had one TV hit for 30-seconds of exposure.

Most of the mavens on this list generated attention in newspapers and trade magazines, though Mr. Mandel accrued the most well-balanced media plan, representing wire service stories and newsweekly magazine coverage as well.

This year's Media Mavens SPINdex reflects a changing of the guard, of sorts. Absent are former notables such as former TN Media chief Mike Drexler (now at Media Smith) and even the normally ubiquitous Bob Coen, senior VP-forecasting at Universal McCann, who failed to generate more than a few mentions in the SPINdex sample.

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