Best & Brightest Media Strategists: Seb Maitra

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The revival of Tyco International's corporate image has to rank as one of the toughest media jobs in recent history. But Seb Maitra, Hill Holliday senior VP-group manager, did not shrink away from the challenge, and in fact, helped encourage Tyco marketing executives to take some chances.

The 41-year-old Maitra encouraged the company to embrace the commitment of its employees and show that face to the world. After an extensive internal campaign in 2003 and early 2004, Hill Holliday created a global ad campaign targeting C-suite executives with the theme "A vital part of your world," explaining the depth and breadth of Tyco products. Then in fall 2004, Tyco stepped up and engaged its audience on the Washington Post's online coverage of the November elections.

"Tyco's name was already out there, so instead of shying away from publicity and politics, we did something unusual with the Washington Post ... and owned its election site," Maitra said. "As you can imagine, it was a pretty big sell inside the organization."

But that "Vital Voices" campaign was also a hit, engaging users with e-mail drop invitations, "vital question" discussions and a selection of online commentaries from various CEOs with message boards.

At Hill Holliday, Maitra leads media buying and planning for all the agency's technology and financial clients including the PricewaterhouseCoopers, Putnam Investments and EMC Technology accounts.

Maitra came to Hill Holliday four years ago from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, where he oversaw the launch of the E*Trade brand, as well as helped create the first interactive banner ad, the well-known "HP Pong" banner, for Hewlett-Packard Co. Maitra continues to push innovative media through the use of emerging technology and said he believes broadband will make the Internet more important to the media mix.

"Sometime in the next two-year period, we'll see a lot of money come out of TV and go to online," he said. "It will be a transition, but [by the end of the two years,] broadband will be even more robust." -Beth Snyder Bulik

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