Best & Brightest Media Strategists: Brian Monahan

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Brian Monahan, VP-group media director at Universal McCann, may have only one client, but software giant Microsoft Corp. keeps him quite busy and allows him to be creative and diverse with media.

The global Microsoft Office "New Era" campaign this year, for example, featured a score of media executions in more than 20 countries, from building wraps in Brazil to commuter station dominations in Tokyo to elevator doors in Canada. Still, the diverse media tactics emanated from a single media strategy, Monahan said.

"The campaign dramatized the challenge of the modern workplace," he said. "Our media strategy was to reach people as close to those frustrating moments as possible."

The campaign included robust Web tracking to find out not only how well the campaign was "moving the needle" but also exactly where and when executions were working.

"It's incumbent on media [buyers] to find out how customers are using media and leverage that information," Monahan said.

Other media executions of the campaign included several co-sponsored deals with partners such as CBS Sportsline and Disney. McCann research found that information workers tend to play online fantasy sports, so Microsoft sponsored all CBS Sportsline fantasy league Web pages. Microsoft also integrated its Office functionality into the fantasy league pages, allowing users to send e-mail and add calendar items as they played.

With Disney, McCann negotiated a "vertical roadblock" of Microsoft ads during prime time TV programming across Disney-owned TV properties and Web sites.

-Beth Snyder Bulik

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