DMM: Susan Bratton

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If personal computers and the Web have been the new frontier for advertisers the last few years, Susan Bratton feels she's now moving beyond that. "I'm pioneering the next generation of ad models," she likes to tell people.

It seems that just as she's starting to build the advertising model for @Home, the high-speed, broadband gateway to the @Home Network and the Internet, she has an even more exciting challenge: building the ad model for those who will access the Web using the next generation of digital set-top boxes.

Vital stats:
Title: Director-interactive advertising group, @Home, Redwood City, Calif.
Age/bio: 36, born in Philadelphia; B.S. in business administration, University of Phoenix, 1986.
Founded Media Associates, 1988-95; VP-associate publisher, A/V Video and Multimedia Producer, 1995-96; current post, March 1996-.

"They're really so different than the set-top boxes people use today that we call them set-top computers," Ms. Bratton said. Though @Home is only in about 100,000 homes today, Ms. Bratton is already working on translating the broadband advertising concept from the PC to the TV.

"It's amazing what you have to consider," she said. There are the seemingly mundane details such as considering that most TV screens have a different shape than a PC's. Plus, "you have to figure out how a user who's reclining on a couch is going to interact with a remote control to a broadband ad," she notes.

@Home has developed a broadband box--dubbed b*box--as a tool for advertisers. The b*box takes up about one-sixth of a Web page, and it can accommodate video for marketing messages. The concept has already been embraced by a number of advertisers, including Lipton and Clorox Co.

Even when she's not working online, Ms. Bratton is playing there. "If I'm not surfing on my WebTV, I'm reading books I've ordered from," she said.

Somehow, in between all that, she and her husband are raising a 13-month-old daughter, Taylor, and "remodeling our home, an architectural gem in Los Altos Hills."

Betcha didn't know: Ms. Bratton's first sales position was selling semi-conductors, and she was complimented by her boss for being so "tenacious."

Not knowing what the word meant, Ms. Bratton looked it up when she got home that evening. Reading the definition, she said to herself, "Yes, that's what I want to be." Tenacity has been her mantra ever since.

Copyright June 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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