Media Mavens 2009

Paul Leys

Director, Ignition Factory East, OMD

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- For contemporary marketers, it's easy to get swept up in the latest technology. It's rarer to find effective applications of cutting-edge tech on big brands. One young media exec who's done it is OMD's Paul Leys, who's had a big hand in developing a lot of the most innovative and groundbreaking work the agency produces for clients such as Dockers, Showtime and Pepsi.

Paul Leys
Paul Leys
A lot of that work is coming out of the agency's new Ignition Factory offering, and one of the driving forces behind the group is Mr. Leys, who joined OMD last April from Initiative. Mr. Leys calls the Ignition Factory the "fresh face" of OMD. "We look at our group as an area leading the agency and moving outside of that comfort zone -- anything that would be deemed traditional -- and leading the conversation about where consumers are going next in the existing media platforms and where they will in the platforms to come," he said.

Mr. Leys (pronounced like "Lies") helped create the first interactive shakable ad for an iPhone app for Dockers and used the Kindle as an ad medium for the debut of Showtime's "Nurse Jackie." More recently he helped design an interactive video ad insert for Pepsi Max and CBS's 2009-2010 TV season, which ran in Entertainment Weekly.

Seth Kaufman, director-media strategy at Pepsi, said the difference between Mr. Leys and others in the tech space is that some may have a vast knowledge of technology but don't have a clue about how to use it to create a robust marketing program that drives business needs. "But with Paul it's not just, 'here's this great technology,'" Mr. Kaufman said. "He brings us this technology and explains how he sees it working for us."

Mr. Leys is also in charge of another new OMD offering called OMD Pop, a consulting group that provides clients with "pop-culture reports" on offline and online trends that can be implemented into marketing programs.

Jonathan Haber, U.S. director of OMD's Ignition Factory, said Mr. Leys' knowledge of cultural trends and his strong marketing sense allows him to turn pop culture into actionable ideas for brands. "This skill set enables our clients to create organic conversations around consumers' passions at a time when it is increasingly difficult to reach them in a traditional way."

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