|WHY HE WAS CHOSEN:
"I understand the politics of both entities and what it takes to bridge the two to get programs and initiatives done," the 39-year-old executive says.
"Media is now at a threshold moment," he says, "very much at a turning point. ... It's forced us to figure out how do we respond to it as brands. How do we open doors to media, and what can it do for us?"
He has answered those questions for Philips thanks to media plans that embody Philips' core brand attribute of "simplicity." Under his stewardship, Philips has tackled more than 15 marketing projects with that theme, sponsoring commercial-free college football; free access to premium online content from ESPN, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times; longer news segments (via fewer commercial breaks) on "60 Minutes" and "NBC Nightly News"; and special no-ad magazine supplements for Gourmet. It also removed the subscription cards from four Hearst magazines for one month and ran a two-page ad with the tagline, "Simplicity is not having subscription cards fall out of your magazine," with a link for subscribers.
"We went from buying time to creating it," Mr. Plaskonos says, adding that the media partners played critical and early roles in all of the projects. But it was his vision and experience on both sides of the fence that helped convince them.
Giulio Capua, VP-publisher of Architect-ural Digest and former publisher at Gourmet, says Mr. Plaskonos urged Gourmet to "think differently."
"Eric was the one out in front urging us to take risks and bring him an idea that had never been done before," Mr. Capua said.
Mr. Plaskonos has more media projects planned for this year. "We don't want to be a one-trick pony, just removing the same things over and over again," he says. "Because just cutting ads is not simplicity. ... It's that the experience itself is less interrupted; the content is richer and more enjoyable."