Profile: Jennifer Kohl

Feb 17, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Jennifer Kohl is living proof of the opportunities the rising influence of media planning is creating within agencies large and small. She also represents some of the headaches.
Ms. Kohl, a longtime media planner with Young & Rubicam entities, is executive director of integrated media at the agency. More specifically, she runs Brand Buzz, Y&R’s agency within an agency set up to marry the media planning discipline with specialist creatives from all media.
Having such clients as Sony, Colgate and Dr. Pepper has enabled Brand Buzz to grow from just five employees three years ago to 47 today. That’s because there are non-Y&R clients too: Heinz Pet Snacks, Plymouth Gin and Vox Vodka.
Whether it’s creating Vox product placement in the HBO comedy “Mind of a Married Man” or the new Colgate TV campaign or direct response work for the Sony Vaio laptop PC, Brand Buzz’s media planners are “partners” to creatives, just as art directors are to copywriters.
Although much of the focus in hiring is on people who have nontraditional advertising experience, Brand Buzz is absolutely not about shying away from television. Instead it’s about cross-pollination between television, print and other media.
“We like to think that we can go beyond television, beyond print,” Ms. Kohl said. “Media planning and the entire creative development process exist here side by side.”
For Vaio, for instance, Brand Buzz took the television campaign and built into it a method by which mobile target consumers it had identified as being too busy to go to Circuit City could actually sample the product. It came up with “station domination” at New York’s Grand Central and other metropolitan transit stations in which Brand Buzz took every possible advertising site for Vaio and even built kiosks which attracted lines of consumers.
“Media planning needs to be bundled back in,” Ms. Kohl said. “Planners have aligned with buyers, but media planning really should be aligned with the creative process.”
“I think this is how agencies should work,” she added, insisting there were no turf wars between Brand Buzz and The Mediaedge. “I was extricated from the Whole Egg marketing process [at The Mediaedge].”
All the hypothesizing in the world doesn’t mean much without work to show for it. Ms. Kohl said to look out for the new Colgate work and the launch of dnL, a new fizzy green soft drink from Dr. Pepper.