Best & Brightest Media Strategists: Michael Nicholas

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Marketers that target a b-to-b audience exclusively in the office may be missing out on valuable opportunities. That is the thinking behind the work Michael Nicholas, senior VP-managing director at Carat USA, Boston, has been doing. After all, b-to-b executives are consumers, he said.

"A doctor who is maybe in charge of purchasing an MRI machine is also going to go home and buy a consumer product," Nicholas said.

Hardly a new idea, but his work includes some interesting applications. For electronics company Philips, Carat made a deal with CBS' "60 Minutes," creating what it called a simplified viewing experience to align with the client's positioning of "Sense and simplicity."

Philips sponsored the entire program, with a "brought to you by" message at the top of the hour. Rather than interrupt the viewer with 12 minutes of commercials over the course of the hour, commercial time was halved, and Philips used 15-second broadcast billboards that flashed on the screen between segments. It finished with two 30-second commercials.

Nicholas this year also worked on media placement for newly launched Motorola b-to-b telecommunications products. His assignment was to keep ad design consistent in order to build brand equity.

A campaign for the client's Ojo videophone included media mainstays print, direct mail and outdoor, but again pressed consistent messaging. "The idea was to narrowcast this [to vertical targets] but at the same time make it feel like an extension of a lot of the other product advertising we're doing," he said. That gives Motorola "more traction with limited b-to-b budgets so we can maximize our ability to sell through."

-Carol Krol

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