Rob Thorsen, 28

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As one of the key players on the launch of Unilever's Axe brand in the U.S., Rob Thorsen, 28, has inspired not only the trust of his agency bosses at Publicis Groupe-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty, but also the client.

Axe launched in September 2002 and by the end of December it had taken a 4% share of the men's antiperspirant/deodorant segment. "He's able to inspire trust, respect and confidence of all the clients, and has relationships up to senior management," says Bartle Bogle New York President Cindy Gallop. Maybe it's Mr. Thorsen's bizarre sense of humor or offbeat dress sense (he wore Burberry plaid pants to fit in with his British-owned agency when he started). He also seems cut out for work on Axe.

Within a year at the shop, Mr. Thorsen leaped from account manager to account director. "I think I went a bit quicker than I thought I was going to," he says. "He's a unique character and stands out," concludes Ms. Gallop.

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