Marketing's Most Influential Executives

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The 9th Annual Ad Age report on the top executives of marketing.
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> Top 30 Power Players

NEW YORK ( -- This is the latest in a series of annual Advertising Age reports that have documented the leading players in the marketing business since 1995. These are the men and women who control about $38 billion in measured ad spending and use it in a manner that broadly shapes the daily realities and future possiblities of the industry as a whole. This year's top 30 Power Players are ranked by Ad Age's assessment of ad spending, marketing success and leadership abilities.

Top Two Players
The top two players are Procter & Gamble's James R. Stengel and General Motors Corp.'s John Middlebrook and together, they control marketing activities budgeted at $6.32 billion.

James R. Stengel
Global marketing officer, Procter & Gamble Co.
Ad Budget: $2.67 billion

Agency roster: Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, New York and Toronto; Ericsson Fina, Wing Latino Group and MediaCom, all

James R. Stengel, P&G's global marketing officer.
New York. Publicis Groupe's Publicis Worldwide, Kaplan Thaler Group, Conill and MediaVest, all New York; Leo Burnett USA, Chicago and Toronto; Saatchi & Saatchi, New York and Los Angeles; Burrell Communications Group and Starcom, both Chicago; Bromley Communications, San Antonio. Carol H. Williams Advertising, Oakland, Calif.

Power play: For the first time in three years, P&G registered organic sales growth globally, with sales for the year ended June 30 up 7.8% to $43.4 billion, without help from acquisitions. Mr. Stengel, 48, organized P&G's first trip to the Cannes ad festival, and tweaked company policies on ad decision-making and copy testing. He's also overseeing P&G's first purchasing executive to look at squeezing waste and improving agency creative output.

Downside: As P&G brands make ambitious claims, the marketer has become a target of a growing number of lawsuits and challenges from competitors before the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Courts have found misleading portions of ads for Tampax, Pampers and Prilosec OTC. P&G sales were only up 3.1% in the U.S. last year, as a declining dollar helped boost sales overseas.

John Middlebrook
Vice president and general manager of vehicle brand marketing and corporate advertising
General Motors Corp.
Ad Budget: $3.65 billion

Agency roster: Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Ewald and General Motors Mediaworks, both Warren, Mich.; Lowe & Partners

John Middlebrook, GM's vp of vehicle brand marketing.
Worldwide, New York; McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Troy, Mich.; Mullen, Wenham, Mass. Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. Publicis Groupe's Chemistri, Troy; General Motors Planworks, Detroit. Modernista, Boston.

Power play: Mr. Middlebrook, 62, continued corporate, cross-brand campaigns including the "Sleep on It" 24-hour test drives. GM maintained incentive advertising in an attempt to stop share erosion, and added a Hispanic corporate campaign. To advertise those programs, GM's corporate spending in measured media more than doubled in the first half of 2003 vs. 2002 to $161 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Cadillac brand made a Super Bowl ad splash and has been making sales inroads with new models. GM's market share slipped by less than 1 percentage point through September 2003 to 28%, and the strategy may have stemmed bigger share losses.

Downside: The world's largest carmaker is risking damage to brands by selling the deal with a seemingly never-ending plethora of incentive ads.

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