It is not Lafley's style to do the evil laugh, but he could have been forgiven a little smirk as a succession of rivals-Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive, Kimberly-Clark, Georgia Pacific and Playtex-blamed the Cincinnati slugger for their business bruises this year. Lafley is creating a one-for-the-textbooks marketing titan. Together with his lieutenant, CMO Jim Stengel, he has used aggressive pricing, promotions and ads to batter opponents. Now P&G is demanding more creativity from its ad folks and ramping up its marketing efforts beyond the 30-second spot-expect more bleating from competitors next year.
2 Michael Powell, FCC chairman
Powell thinks consumers have enough different news channels to warrant loosening media-ownership rules. So what? So watch this space very carefully. Powell has spent 2003 championing rules that would raise the number of TV households one company can reach and eliminate newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban. His influence might have been felt even more keenly had it not been for FCC Democrat Michael Copps, who tried to keep the issue in the public eye; Media Access Project, which called for Congress to roll back the rule changes; and the Senate, which postponed a vote on the rule until January.
3 Steven J. Heyer, President-chief operating officer, Coca-Cola Co.
Not since then-P&G CEO Ed Artzt chastised the marketing business for "missing the boat" on the Internet have one man's words so shaken the industry. Heyer's speech at Advertising Age's inaugural Madison + Vine conference sparked a sea change in the way many see the industry's future. "We can drive awareness, differentiation and interest for you just as you do for us...And maybe, charge you like you charge us." He called for the development of a new model, because, he said, the old one "will simply collapse." Heyer may well go down as the founding father of Madison + Vine.
4 Ann Fudge, CEO, Young & Rubicam
It's hard to say what impact Fudge has had on Y&R since she took the helm of the agency in May. At the time, she said she had "no masterplan" and touted her intention to listen to her people and clients. So far, so good: Clients haven't walked out-or in- and the people seem to be developing a loyalty to their leader. Fudge's appointment as the first African-American woman to take the helm of a major global ad agency shattered a glass ceiling. But the former president of Kraft's Maxwell House and Post divisions won't be content with just landing the role-expect to hear a lot more from her in 2004.
5 Alex Bogusky, Exec creative director, Crispin Porter & Bogusky
The youthful creative partner of a Miami-based shop, no matter how swoon-worthy, would seem an unlikely candidate for a people-of-the-year list. But when you helm a shop that swept every major award show, you become an automatic choice. Crispin Porter & Bogusky snagged the Cannes Grand Prix for its Ikea "Lamp" spot, as well as a Media Lion for brewer Molson and a Press & Poster Lion for BMW Mini Cooper's "Ride." It also won the Grand Prize Kelly Award, given by the Magazine Publishers of America. And in June the agency shared the Grand Effie, given out by the American Marketing Association.
6 Richard Parsons, Chairman-CEO, Time Warner
This was the year in which control at the media superpower was consolidated in the hands of one man as Parsons, already CEO, added the chairman role to his responsibilities, replacing Steve Case. Parsons seems to have consigned the company's accounting difficulties to history and, most importantly, was brave enough to admit to and correct a colossal branding blunder. AOL Time Warner became plain old Time Warner again. The Internet division is no longer the driving force, Parsons is, and-notwithstanding the company's myriad issues-it looks to be in good hands.
7 Bonnie Fuller, Exec VP-chief editorial director, American Media
After resurrecting Wenner Media's UsWeekly as the cheeky scrapper that made Time Inc.'s People seem staid, and getting so much credit for it that Gwyneth Paltrow called her "the devil" for ratcheting up tabloid thirst for candid celeb photos, Fuller leapt out of the fire and into the arms of David Pecker at American Media, where her first project has been to Fuller-ize The Star. She is also exploring a TV venture. Watch out Gwyneth... or watch out Bonnie. Even Pecker conceded Star's newsstand sales had yet to show increases-in stark contrast to her track record elsewhere.
8 Yao Ming, Center, Houston Rockets
The new star of sports marketing was the 7-foot-5 rookie, who hawked Gatorade, Apple's PowerBook, Pepsi-Cola and Visa's check card ("Yo!" "Yao!"). Given that he hails from a country with a population of 1.3 billion, Ming's power as an endorser, marketers hope, will eventually extend beyond the U.S. He sued the Chinese government for allowing his face to be used on a Coke can, fearing it would harm his U.S. relationship with PepsiCo. It's the first time a Chinese athlete has tested whether he is entitled to individual rights outside of the team's and government's interests.
9 SpongeBob Squarepants
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Is Nickelodeon's key contributor to its licensing-fee coffers? Why, SpongeBob, of course. The lovable nerd racked up $750 million in sales of licensed merchandise after just three years on the air. Kraft, Nabisco, Ford Motor Co. and Burger King have used him for tie-ins. An on-campus promo worked because 20% of viewers for the No. 1-rated kids' show are college students. Even Mitsubishi used SpongeBob's theme song to underscore its Endeavor SUV. Oh, and then there was the "is he gay?" debate in a national newspaper. A phenomenon that won't go away.
10 Carson Kressley, Fashion expert, "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"
Some might say that he's at about 14 minutes and 32 seconds, but fans would point to his star quality and quick wit and say 2003 was just the beginning for Kressley. Bravo and NBC's surprise hit of the summer is not only having an impact on ratings, it's boosting mall traffic as well. He topped the list of celebrity endorsers people would buy product from, according to research by Jericho Communications. Retailer Pier One hopes to cash in on the trend, recently announcing it will replace actress Kirstie Alley as its spokeswoman in favor of "Queer Eye" design guru Thom Filicia.