Media Mavens 2010

Media Mavens: Iain Tait, Wieden & Kennedy

Global Interactive Executive Creative Director Has Plans to Take on a Mobile-First Campaign

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LONDON ( -- When the Advertising Hall of Fame is drawn up for 2010, one campaign is likely to stand head and shoulders above others for its use of social media: Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like."

Iain Tait
Iain Tait
So it's not hard to see why Iain Tait, global interactive executive creative director at Wieden & Kennedy, and the man credited as the brains behind Old Spice's YouTube triumph, has made it into this year's Media Mavens report -- and only six months after he arrived in the U.S. from London.

The self-described "English-sounding Scottish guy" has only ever worked in new media, starting out in online in 1994 before becoming one of the founders of Poke, a widely respected digital agency in London.

It was through Poke that Mr. Tait first made a name for himself as someone who used new media innovatively -- and effectively -- for marketing purposes. He worked on some of the agency's significant campaigns, including an award-winning online balloon race, called Balloonacy, for the British cellphone network Orange, and large-scale redesigns of websites such as the site for soccer team Manchester City.

Mr. Tait is the first person to point out that the Old Spice YouTube phenomenon was built on the considerable momentum generated by the advertising campaign. "I was really fortunate to walk into that project. Great client, great team, great energy -- being able to join and contribute has been incredible and certainly a career highlight," Mr. Tait said.

While it might be tempting to rest on his laurels and be known as the Old Spice YouTube guy, Mr. Tait has no plans to do so. He is already thinking about the next big thing to happen in new media -- although it is, he points out, a surprisingly not-so-new thing.

"I don't think anyone has properly executed a full-on big-scale mobile-first campaign. And I'm not talking about iPhone apps, QR codes and augmented reality, I'm talking about mainstream mobile web usage with purpose," Mr. Tait said.

"It has to happen soon. It needs to happen before the mobile web ceases to be any different from the non-mobile web. It feels like one of those things where we're incredibly close and incredibly far away at the same time."

Apart from cracking mobile web marketing, Mr. Tait hints that he might also be working on making himself better understood by Americans.

"Everyone is really friendly, but they understand me less than I thought. Not because I'm complicated, but because I use alien words. I had no idea that a stationery cupboard was a funny thing," he joked.

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