24: Chris Clouser

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Ad budget: $663 million

Agency roster: Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, New York; Campbell-Mithun, Minneapolis; Initiative Media and Media First International, both New York; and DraftWorldwide, Chicago. WPP Group's VML, Kansas City, Mo., and Uniworld Group, New York. Publicis Groupe's Bromley Communications, San Antonio. Independents Equity Marketing, Amoeba, both Los Angeles, McCaffrey Ratner Gottlieb & Lane, New York.

Power play: Mr. Clouser, 50, has the power over brand decisions as the No. 2 to CEO John Dasburg. With an 18-month deadline, he helped unite and focus the 85% franchisee owners around a plan to reverse a sales slide and sell the company from Diageo to a consortium with Texas Pacific Group, Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs. (The deal is set to close later this year.) Mr. Clouser, whose magnetic persuasive skills seem to be an amalgam of impresario, politician and cult leader, has a penchant for big ideas that create a continuous cycle of hype around a brand.

Downside: A blue flame executive who quickly burns though ideas and personnel, Mr. Clouser is known for testing the loyalties of those who work for him with bizarre motivational exercises. He replaced nearly every incumbent manager with his own posse. Aside from the Whopper relaunch, only the Chicken Whopper has proved to be a sales winner, out of more than 20 product launches he's orchestrated.

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