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Women to Watch 2007

Julie Rieger

ZenithOptimedia West Coast

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NEXT: Deanna Brown

Julie Rieger would be the first to tell you that perhaps out-driving your boss and his boss -- while barefoot -- on the golf course may not be a surefire way to climb the corporate ladder. However, continually growing ZenithOptimedia's share of Hewlett-Packard Co.'s global media business doesn't hurt.

Julie Rieger, exec VP-managing director, ZenithOptimedia West Coast


Neither does being instrumental in the win of 20th Century Fox media-planning and -buying duties.

Ms. Rieger, 38, has always included media among her passions. In fact, a college course in advertising steered her away from a potential LPGA career, and she hasn't looked back. Fragmentation doesn't scare her. "Bring it on," she says. "We are about rewriting the rules."

Ms. Rieger has already started writing her own rules on media, creating a "Touch Points" metrics system used by HP and being introduced to Fox.

"We have to dig deeper into a different area of expertise that advertising hasn't, which is cultural anthropology," says Ms Rieger, exec VP-managing director at ZenithOptimedia West Coast. "We need to understand more about people's thoughts, feelings and behaviors than [we need to understand about] number of impressions. Metrics and measurements aren't just spreadsheets."

Tim Jones, CEO of ZenithOptimedia USA (and one of the two men Ms. Rieger out-drove on the links), sees Ms. Rieger's achievements as a direct result of her personality.

"She exudes passion whether she's talking about laptops or the launch of 'Fantastic Four,' " he says.

Ms. Rieger wants to create some changes in the media side of marketing. "One of my biggest beefs ... is that the media industry has outsourced creativity and strategy too much," she says. "A partnership needs to exist, but media agencies need to take back creativity and strategy."

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