Worked in: The UK, the US and
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which
you are most proud. Three years ago Mark Beeching saw a big void in advertising. Each year thousands of media buyers and planners gather for the network Upfront presentations, spending millions of dollars to buy space for traditional ads. No doubt the Upfronts are important. But in a postadvertising age, where millions of viewers are shifting their viewing habits from TV to online, Mark asked a truly innovative question: why not have an Upfront for digital content?
Enter the Digital Content NewFront, a first-of-its-kind event bringing together digital content creators, distributors, marketers and agencies. Mark conceived of the NewFront so these players could come together to create new models of advertising plans. Now in its third year, the Digital Content NewFront has become an increasingly viable place for branded content deals to be made.
In a deal made at last year’s Digital Content NewFront, brokered by Digitas for Kraft Foods, Paula Deen was tapped to be the face of an online cooking challenge, Philadelphia Cream Cheese’s Real Housewives of Philadelphia contest. The campaign used consumer generated video content to find the next big star of home cooking. Each contestant submitted a recipe using Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Since the initiative began in March, the site has had 550,000 unique visitors and 3,600 recipe submissions. Philadelphia sales have risen 8 percent since the start of the campaign. The Real Housewives of Philadelphia is a clear example of the new frontier of advertising—one that isn’t based on the traditional models of interruption, but instead embraces digital content in a way that engage consumers and drives real results for clients.
Why do people see you as an innovator? People see Mark as an innovator because he is a preeminent forward-looking voice in the advertising business. Mark has long been a believer that the age of interruption advertising is dead; so he’s been a champion for integrated messaging that targets consumers with digital content that is relevant and valuable to their lives.
Mark has paved the way for digital marketers to rethink traditional methods of advertising—with events like the Digital Content NewFront and his recent Cannes Seminar, Brand Interruption vs. Brand Integration. This seminar featured celebrities like Common and Nick Cannon, who weighed in on whether or not they believe branded content is the future of the advertising business.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? Innovation is at the core of every campaign Digitas conceives and executes and Mark’s leadership has guided Digitas through its best years of new business growth. The agency added more than 90 new clients worldwide in 2009.
At the core of Mark’s approach to digital marketing is the belief that you can’t just make a destination website and advertise it. So he finds new and different ways to make advertising on the web relevant and interesting to consumers.
One well-known social media campaign for TGIF exemplifies the kind of outof- the-box thinking Mark inspires at the agency. The promotion, a multichannel campaign with social media at the core, was built around a character named Woody—a 35-year old man billed as TGIF’s biggest fan. The campaign included: a
Facebook fan page for Woody, GMMS Email, flash banners, a homepage module on TGIF.com, rich media, a Twitter Account, and content on Funnyordie, YouTube and TV Guide.
The campaign drove in-store traffic, generated GMMS leads, and encouragedengagement with the brand through Woody.