1 Mike Florence
Chief strategy officer, PHD UK
Ask any rival media agency planner or media owner for a recommendation (and Campaign has asked a lot of them) and “Flo” is often mentioned, usually as the number-one choice. He was awarded Campaign’s Media Planner of the Year for the third time in a row this year. Florence has helped PHD rise to the Covid-19 challenge with effective campaigns for Warner Bros (“Bringing entertainment home”) and BHF (24 Hours in A&E: Heart Special).
2 Paul Gayfer
Planning partner, Goodstuff Communications
Gayfer, who is now regarded as the leading client strategy partner at Goodstuff (working with Simeon Adams) has been the head planner behind the highly successful work that has enabled Goodstuff to win both the Grand Prix at the Campaign Media (talkSPORT’s “Talk to talkSPORT”) and Media Week Awards (ITV’s “Britain get talking”). He has also overseen the indie agency’s new planning proposition “Braver by design” and continues to be a trusted lieutenant within the independent agency, having been at Goodstuff since its early days.
3 Vicky Fox
Chief planning officer, OMD UK
A runner-up for Media Planner of the Year in 2020, Fox, who previously ran OMD’s connections planning team before being promoted to chief planning officer last year, leads a team of 40 and is responsible for developing new tools. Under her tenure, the agency has, in response to Covid, launched Open Floor Lock-In sessions to share clients’ strategic priorities, as well as host virtual training sessions on its planning process. OMD credits its new digital-first model and its rebuilt design planning process as the respective reasons for its extension of major account deals with McDonald’s UK and Barclays this year.
4 Richard Kirk
Managing partner, Zenith
Kirk rejoined the Publicis Groupe agency last year – and what a decision that has turned out to be, given Zenith’s strong performance under CEO Natalie Cummins as it won Media Week’s agency of the year in 2020. Kirk’s two-year stint as a brand strategist at Amazon has evidently played its part, as he has helped the agency pioneer two new data products and launch an econometrics technique for Covid times, called “Morphing”. He also leads a planning department that prides itself on promoting from within and rarely losing planners to rival agencies.
5 Geoff De Burca
Chief strategy officer, MediaCom UK
Tesco’s eye-catching Christmas campaign with its Britney Spears soundtrack is the latest in a series of memorable work planned by MediaCom in a year when the supermarket won the IPA Effectiveness Grand Prix for its marketing-inspired turnaround. Having been the agency’s key media strategist on Tesco, 2020 is the first full year in which De Burca has led the department since his promotion in 2019.
6 Dino Myers-Lamptey
Founding partner, The Barber Shop
The Barber Shop, a strategy agency and consultancy, aims to use “new models of creativity and collaboration to solve clients’ problems”, according to Myers-Lamptey, a one-time managing director of MullenLowe MediaHub. He is one of the industry’s most- considered thought leaders and has spoken candidly about the challenges digital media planners face when trying to capture online audiences’ attention and create an equitable value exchange that rewards time spent for consuming ads on the web. A longstanding diversity advocate, this year he created a non-profit initiative, Diverse Speakers, which aims to help conference organisers widen representation at events.
7 Jen Smith/Sally Weavers
Founders, Craft Media
The pandemic has been a tough climate for independent agencies but young start-up Craft Media continues to shine, with intelligently planned campaigns. It was shortlisted at the Media Week awards for Which?’s radio campaign championing consumers in lockdown, while Smith and Weavers’ thought leadership on “trust in a time of crisis” is outstanding.
8 Jed Hallam
Chief strategy officer, Initiative
Hallam has been central to Initiative following up its strong 2019 with a creditable Covid-hit year, having won Deliveroo’s media account. He is responsible for the IPG agency’s product and tools, strategy and insights team and is known for taking a lead on cultural insights; he also writes a weekly music newsletter.
9 Enyi Nwosu
Chief strategy officer, UM
Nwosu has been busy since joining UM from Mindshare this year with an expanded role in which he leads the strategy team as well the agency’s content arm, UM Studios. He has provided brainpower as the agency launched its Futureproof client growth strategy positioning and won new business for Energizer, Photobox and Dr Marten’s. Nwosu has also led on important research by UM during the lockdown, namely attitudes to parenting in agencies, a must-read as adland adjusts to more flexible working patterns.
10 Verra Budimlija
Chief strategy officer, Wavemaker
Budimlija has played an important role in infusing greater creative thinking across Wavemaker and has been instrumental in developing its “Positive Provocation” approach to helping clients grow and innovate in what the agency predicts will be a turbulent decade. This year is her tenth since joining MEC (now Wavemaker).