Opinion: Question time with ... Jason Goodman - BMP’s managing director is keeping on top of the wired world, says Mark Tungate

At just 29 years of age, Jason Goodman insists that he is one of the older managing directors in the new-media sector. If you’ve been to an industry bash lately, you’ll know that he is only slightly exaggerating - but a position at the helm of one of the most successful interactive marketing agencies is not to be sniffed at.

At just 29 years of age, Jason Goodman insists that he is one of

the older managing directors in the new-media sector. If you’ve been to

an industry bash lately, you’ll know that he is only slightly

exaggerating - but a position at the helm of one of the most successful

interactive marketing agencies is not to be sniffed at.



Goodman and his colleague Ross Sleight came up with the business plan

for BMP Interaction in 1996, when they were working at the ’traditional’

BMP DDB. Chairman James Best embraced the idea, and now Goodman finds

himself heading a 35-strong agency with estimated billings of around

pounds 10 million.



’BMP has always had a very progressive attitude and, as far as new media

is concerned, it was ahead of the game,’ says Goodman. ’Few agencies

bothered to make an investment at the time and many of those that have

done so since are struggling to catch up.’



Goodman left Cambridge in 1992 with a degree in history, politics and

philosophy - and no idea that he would shortly find himself embroiled in

a media revolution. ’I was one of the last generation to believe that

the freshest thinking was being done in advertising. Then I discovered

that it wasn’t.’



He started out at DMB&B as a trainee, then moved to BMP as an account

manager on Volkswagen, eventually becoming an account director on

Vodafone. But it didn’t offer the creative outlet he craved. ’The

processes were quite formulaic. I wanted to work with clients in a

different way and I came to the conclusion that the internet offered

enormous opportunities.’



So he established BMP Interaction, with founding clients such as

Associated New Media, BMG Interactive, Reuters and Budweiser. The latter

led to one of the agency’s greatest coups, which came in 1998 when it

masterminded the brand’s sponsorship of Sky’s online World Cup

coverage.



The deal also illustrates BMP’s mission, which is ’not to simply buy

banner ads or design websites, but to create genuine relationships with

consumers online’.



While many clients still think banner ads are the bee’s knees, Goodman

is pushing for ever more creative ideas - such as the agency’s

groundbreaking work for the Sony Mavica digital video camera, which used

online video spots shot on the camera to demonstrate what it could

do.



He’s also keen on ’viral marketing’, which uses techniques such as

targeted e-mails to spread the word about a product or service.



Goodman accepts that interactive marketing is moving into the

mainstream, but he believes that the opportunities now available to

advertisers are only the tip of the iceberg. ’Marketers and consumers

find the whole idea of new-media much more acceptable - you’ve got taxi

drivers saying they can’t wait to get Wireless Application Protocol on

their mobile phones,’ he points out. ’But actually, it’s still early

days. The best opportunities are yet to come.’



Perhaps unsurprisingly for somebody who spends so much of his time in

the wired world, Goodman likes to disconnect himself when he’s not at

work. He spent most of the Christmas period in one of the more remote

parts of Scotland. ’I’m never happier than when I’m up a mountain,’ he

says.





Goodman on technophobia



’I have no interest in maintaining the myth that what we do is difficult

to understand. I’m quite happy to sit down and explain it in

straightforward terms. Having said that, I also believe that it’s an

incredibly exciting area to be in. That’s why people from every field -

from investment banking to consulting - are flooding into this

business.’



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