Media Mavens 2013

New to Hearst Digital Team, Todd Haskell Turns Custom Ads Into Engrossing Experiences

Senior VP-Chief Revenue Officer Spent 10 Years at the Times

By Published on .

At The New York Times, 45-year-old Todd Haskell and his former colleagues were charged with the task of creating excitement around online banner ads. Amazingly, they pulled it off.

Todd Haskell
Todd Haskell

Mr. Haskell, who recently joined Hearst Magazines, spent nearly 10 years at the Times, where he helped create the Times' Idea Lab, a 10-person team that applies the newsroom's online storytelling platforms to display advertising.

For instance, a display ad for laundry detergent Wisk enabled readers to hover over a T-shirt with their cursor to reveal hidden stains. The inspiration for the ad was an editorial feature on Pablo Picasso, who reused canvases as a young painter. In the feature, readers could hover their cursor over a Picasso work to reveal a painting beneath it.

Under this direction, these custom ads became engrossing experiences unto themselves.

"It was about creating a capability for advertisers to tap into things that were the most exciting and engaging for readers and injecting that DNA into an advertising experience," he said. In July, Hearst hired Mr. Haskell away from the Times for a newly created position within its digital division to oversee sales and marketing for Hearst's 24 digital sites.

What magazines would you want on if you were stranded on a desert island?
I've always been a huge fan of Esquire, so that's easy. But for additional frequency for air-drops to my island, I would also love New York magazine.

If you could have one cable or broadcast network for life, what would it be?
I was a history major in college (with a geography minor), so the History channel appeals to my inner nerd.

Which obsolete tech device do you wish you could have back?
My Atari 2600 game console. It was so cool, particularly when I could start playing "Space Invaders" in my family's den. That was awesome.

If you weren't doing this job, what would you be doing?
My dream job is to be the restaurant critic for The New York Times. Or even better, the friend of the restaurant critic (if that's a job): eating at the best places every night, but somebody else has to do the hard work of writing the review.

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