Marc Goldstein

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Sometimes veteran media agency executive Marc Goldstein believes he's a rookie.

That's what he called himself last year after only a few months as exec VP-national broadcast of WPP Group's MindShare USA. The truth is after almost 30 years in the business, Mr. Goldstein is anything but. This year may even confirm it-as he rose to president-CEO of MindShare USA.

Mr. Goldstein is old enough to know how to grow and have fun. He has presided over creating two major media units-helping set up MindShare, which he came to in November 2000, and seven years before, starting the powerful GM Mediaworks with the late Karen Ritchie.

Working for the largest U.S. spender on TV advertising, General Motors Corp., Mr. Goldstein not only struck a number of new media deals, but also had a ringside seat with an innovative marketer. "They are always on the cutting edge of media," he says.

Among his major deals were long-term separate agreements with General Electric Co.'s NBC and the U.S. Olympic Committee, which made GM the exclusive domestic car marketer for five different Olympic Games, from 2000 to 2008.

Now running a bigger media buying concern that had $8.5 billion in billings in 2001, according to Advertising Age's Agency Report, Mr. Goldstein sees more challenges and opportunities. Under his reign, MindShare put together a major cross-platform deal for American Express Co. with NBC for the network's 75th anniversary. The media agency also worked on two AOL Time Warner deals, others with American Express Co. and Unilever.

Some cross-platform deals "may be driven by price ," says Mr. Goldstein. "But when you tailor something to a marketing objective-perhaps as a brand introduction-then I'm supportive of it."

Perhaps most interesting is how he runs his media operation during the upfront sales period. Most media agencies work into the wee hours of the morning during the upfront.

"I have been able to get my staff out at 8 p.m., sometimes 10 p.m.," he says. "That was until this year. We did a 5 in the morning. It was one of those things that we got going with many networks simultaneously. Sometimes there's something to be said about momentum. It's quite contrary to the way we do business."

Perhaps that attitude is what keeps Mr. Goldstein thinking like a rookie-being able to shift longtime strategies. This even comes when asked about his age.

"My age has been reported as 54 or 55," he says playfully.

"Do you have a prefer- ence?" this reporter asks.

"Sure, 54. You can also report it as 39."

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