Media Strategist: Dong Kim

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Dong Kim
Title: Associate media director
Company: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Location: San Francisco
Key b-to-b client: Hewlett-Packard Co.
Years in media business: 14
Most unusual placement in the past 12 months: HP messaging on the sliding glass doors at the Newark Airport
Top trend: “Product integration and production placement has gotten a lot of press in 2004, and I suppose it will continue in 2005.”

In general, watching grass grow is about as exciting as, well, watching paint dry. But in media placement, watching grass grow qualifies as an exciting new concept.

Let us explain. Dong Kim and the media buying team at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners suggested using actual grass seedlings in an out-of-office placement in a San Francisco office building for client Hewlett-Packard Co. The message was written not in ink but in growing grass.

The point? To communicate the HP message of "Change + HP" and that the company's products and services help its customers thrive in these times of rapid transformation. In addition to the grassy placement, Goodby, Silverstein bought a billboard for HP where ivy soon "grew" around the message.

Kim explained that every media buy is viewed through the lens of HP's twin messages of "invent" and "change."

"When we look into media placement we look for opportunities that communicate those things, sometimes rather literally or almost subliminally," he said, adding: "You know things aren't always going to be status quo, and you actually see in the media these changes bringing that to life."

Even in something as straightforward as print media, Kim said the notion of change is central to HP's media buys. For example, HP bought prominent positions in the Fortune 500 and Forbes 400 issues, because those features are all about the changing fortunes of corporations.

Kim has spent five and a half years working at Goodby, Silverstein. Prior to that he worked for Saatchi & Saatchi in San Francisco, where he also worked on the HP account.

In his career, especially with the rise of more targeted venues, media buying has become a much more complex discipline. He tries to stay on top of the constant change. "You still have to try to get as much research as possible," he explained. "You have to study consumer habits and consumer trends. And then you have to tap into your personal life, where you can tap into a lot of things that are missed in the press."

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