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Profile: Alan Schulman

Feb 17, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Title: Senior VP, creative director at Universal McCann
Background: Mr. Schulman joined Universal McCann early this year. He most recently served as global executive director of media and entertainment for FutureBrand Worldwide, the global brand consultancy of McCann-Erickson WorldGroup. He also spent six years as managing director of Pittard Sullivan, the former banding specialist company.
A new path: Mr. Schulman has been appointed to a new post at Universal McCann, creative director, overseeing wireless, ITV and broadband initiatives. His role is to strategize and create media for these emerging technology platforms. “What is interesting is we are now at a point where wireless, broadband, ITV are at a point where we can adjunct our broad-scale media buys with some interesting touchpoints,” he said. “I think it’s clear that we live in a world where people’s media consumption habits are changing, yet there are technologies enabling people to consume media in new spaces. It behooves us as stewards for our clients’ media dollars to expose them not only to trends in emerging media platforms but also means by which to execute creative within those platforms. Here’s a trend like VOD and how do we take what we’ve done in broad-scale media and make it work in this new platform? That’s my job.”
Extending a brand: One of Universal McCann’s first initiatives in this area was creating Wink-enabled overlays for Coca-Cola for the American Music Awards, which was carried on ABC in January. Other possible platforms to deliver messages could be in streaming rich media online, long-form video-on-demand content and messaging, games and branded ring tones for cellphones. “If 18- to 25-year-olds are using text messaging and instant messaging on their cellphones we need to pay close attention to be adjacent to those forms. Brands that are trying to reach young audiences that are increasingly mobile-if we can find ways to send a message to their phone, an e-mail that when you open you can remix a piece of music yourself sponsored by a product … then we are talking about intimately interacting with a piece of music that has a brand attached to it,” he said.
Thinking holistically: To determine if an emerging technology represents an opportunity for advertising, Universal McCann asks three questions: how prevalent it is, how measurable it is and whether it is a compelling experience. “We have to stop treating these as tactical one-off technologies that we stick our toe in. We have to look more holistically and say, We know instant messaging is here to stay. We know VOD is there to stay. We know broadband is here to stay, so how do we integrate that more holistically into media planning?”