Taco Bell isn't big on typical reality shows, but Donald Trump may want to pay attention to Stacy Fairbanks.
|Stacy Fairbanks, senior associate manager-media and promotions, Taco Bell
The senior associate manager-media and promotions for the Yum Brands chain oversees all of Taco Bell's sponsorships as the official fast-feeder of the summer and winter X Games, and for Major League Baseball, and is the leader on site and for the chain's buzz-building promotions like the "Million Dollar Pitch at the All-Star Game." She also handles sponsorships of MTV's Video Music Awards and Movie Awards, and leads sports media negotiations.
"We see all sports as the ultimate reality TV," says Ms. Fairbanks, 32. "With broadcast schedules getting pre-empted and moving, the one thing you know will be there all the time is sports."
"Stacy has a keen understanding of how her Taco Bell customer connects, in our case, with sports fans," says Ed Erhardt, president-customer marketing and sales at ESPN/ABC Sports. "We've found that she understands our content and brand as well as we do, and that insight allows us to be very creative with the kinds of things we can do with Taco Bell."
Debbie Myers, VP-media services for Taco Bell, credits Ms. Fairbanks for leading the brand into sports with process and discipline, and with the mantra to be selective, don't overpay and underutilize. "She has tremendous bandwidth in terms of being able to make the right and left side of her brain work," Ms. Myers says. "It's a lot of rapidly moving pieces, and the ability to see something from beginning to end is valuable."
A baseball fan (the Angels are her team), Ms. Fairbanks grew up playing soccer. When she joined Taco Bell six years ago, she was in charge of local media covering 24 local ad agencies and 204 demographic market areas.
Anybody who's watched "The Apprentice" knows how challenging it is to manage an event while pleasing clients and company executives; Ms. Fairbanks excels at this. She even calmly coordinated the medical care and transportation to the hospital for the son of Taco Bell President Emil Brolick when he broke his arm snowboarding at the X Games this year.
"She would win 'Apprentice,'" says Ms. Myers. "We inked a deal in late May, and how she pulled off a promotion for the All-Star Game in July, I'll never know."