The Annual 2006: Top 10 media planners

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 15 December 2006 12:00AM

1. IVAN POLLARD, partner, Naked Communications

Pollard is for many people the archetypal media planner - largely because he used to wobble about on a unicycle and juggle while he led pitches. There can surely be no clearer visual representation of what media planning can contribute to the communications process.

2. JON GITTINGS, head of strategic planning, Manning Gottlieb OMD

Gittings is the classic inward-facing planning guru. Like most top-level planners, he comes into his own during pitches, but he's charged with the quality of all the agency's work on all its accounts, so a big part of his job involves training programmes to help everyone think strategically. He's the master at producing easily understood solutions that can be applied across all channels.

3. SUE UNERMAN, chief strategy officer, MediaCom

Unerman believes in the power of disruption and the gains to be had from breaking up conventional thought processes. She's one of the industry's intellectuals, but she has also, as she admits, a short attention span, and is always keen to move on to the next problem.

4. MARK HOLDEN, executive planning director, PHD

Holden has emerged in recent years as a sort of nutty professor crossed with a Bond villain. According to the pantomime version of this story, he deprived sick children of access to MRI scanners so he could use the machines for his experiments in mind control.

5. MARIE OLDHAM, strategy director, MPG

One of the more commercially attuned and client-oriented media agency planners, Oldham is effectively a high-level business consultant masquerading as a media strategist - equally impressive in front of junior marketing managers or the chief executives of the largest plcs.

6. MARK SHERWOOD, executive planning director, Rocket

Rival agencies have nicknamed Sherwood The Pocket Rocket (perhaps in reference to his presumed fighting weight). Happily for him and his agency, he weighs in at a more impressive level when it comes to the media planning ring.

7. MATT ANDREWS, joint managing director, Vizeum

One half of the double act that took the helm at Vizeum in 2005, Andrews provides the strategic vision while his joint managing director Grant Millar runs the company. Andrews is best known for creating big set-piece concepts - like "Indian Summer" for Channel 4 when he was at Michaelides & Bednash.

8. RUSSELL PLACE, head of strategy, Universal McCann

Being mistaken on a regular basis for an A-Z index entry (he's listed under both NW3 and SE16) has clearly not held back Place's career. He's a classic all-rounder, having a client-facing role as well as being responsible for imbuing the whole agency with strategic thinking skills.

9. CHARLIE MAKIN, chief strategy officer, Booth Lockett Makin

We've been guilty in the past of overlooking Makin, largely because his agency isn't the biggest in town, but when it comes to the classic planning virtues - a profound understanding of the consumer with an ability to second-guess the ways in which the media landscape is evolving - he has few peers.

10. GERRY BOYLE, chief executive, ZenithOptimedia

We're not entirely sure that Boyle should be in this list, to be honest. Most planners, delicate creatures that they are, don't much care for the machinations of the corporate realm. But since his promotion, Boyle has taken to the world of Publicis office politics like the proverbial duck to water.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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