Media Mavens 2009

Tia Lang

Media and Interactive Director, Burger King

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- With less than half of McDonald's media budget, Burger King is forced to come up with creative ways to get core users' attention.

Tia Lang
Tia Lang
A big part of that is coming up with catchy digital concepts, the department of Tia Lang, Media & Interactive Director, whose hits in recent years include everything from "Subservient Chicken" to "Whopper Sacrifice."

Ms. Lang prides herself in finding new avenues for marketing deals and unlikely partners, with tie-ins such as the King vs. Cletus and a deal with Fox and the NFL that included in-game integrations with the King icon and the Fox robot. Burger King recently partnered with Google and Seth MacFarlane to launch the "Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy," an online cartoon network , and integrations for an animated, slightly less creepy King.

Nick Centofante, media director at BK digital agency VML, described Ms. Lang as "the complete package." "I think they get the most value out of the money they spend," he said.

Ms. Lang, who's been with Burger King since 2004, said that the key is in understanding that consumers are in control.

"She really understands the brand very well so that she can speak to the brand with confidence and lot of knowledge," said Shari Cohen, president, co-executive director of Mindshare, Burger King's media agency. "She can also get in a room and brainstorm and think of things in a 360-degree way, so ultimately what we come up with is targeted for the consumer we're trying to reach."

The proof of that may lie in the seating arrangements. Ms. Lang said that Burger King creatives and media people sit in the same department. "Just as you see in marketplace, media and creative have converged," she said. "I think that synergy internally helps us go out into the marketplace and seek these opportunities out."

Ms. Lang, 46, cut her teeth as a traditional media planner, working on major TV ads for Cover Girl and "other blue-chip brands." From there, she was attracted to digital, which was part of her decision to work for Burger King.

"I think generally that companies are going to continue to find their way in the social-media worlds and figure out the best way to be communicating with their consumer," she said.

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