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Sweet Home Chicago

Jan 3, 2007  •  Post A Comment

StarLink Worldwide’s Karen Coleman is a huge movie fan, but she gave up what might have been the perfect film-related job a few years ago to return home to Chicago.
Instead of handling a Disney account like she did in Los Angeles, Ms. Coleman has been enjoying being near family and friends while making new marks professionally in her home town, where she’s senior VP and broadcast investment director at StarLink Worldwide. Starlkink is an offshoot of Starcom that specializes in serving the expanding mid-sized account business.
Ms. Coleman moved to Los Angeles in 2002. She was working at Starcom when the agency won the Disney Studios home video account.
“I’m a super heavy user of the product. It’s great to work on something that you’re very passionate about,” she said.
While she handled the account, Disney increased the number of DVDs it released and shortened the amount of time between a film’s theatrical release and when it was available for home video.
“I got to work there at a very exciting time as the industry was taking off,” she said.
She also had a very good working relationship with the client, so she was torn when home started calling her.
“As a native Chicagoan, I felt like I needed to get back to my roots,” she said.
Her parents and friends were still in the Windy City.
“If I was in my 20s or 30s, L.A. might have been the place for me. But at this point in my life, I didn’t see myself married with children in L.A.,” she said.
As it happened, StarLink won the Gateway computer account, and she was able to return to Chicago in 2003.
“We’re a small creative media agency that was created to meet the growing market opportunity for small to mid-sized agencies and marketers,” Ms. Colemansaid of StarLink.
She said she’s excited because StarLink is starting to embrace the kind of new media approaches that bigger clients and agencies are employing.
One such campaign is Virgin Mobile’s “Bleepin’ Awesome” holiday campaign, which uses broadcast, online, and consumer-content integrated media to reach a teenage target.
“We have a consumer-centric approach to planning and it’s important that we understand your consumer, understand the target and based on that try to get insights into your consumer so that we can find ways to connect with that consumer, not just reach them, but try to connect with them,” Ms. Coleman said. “There are so many different opportunities out here now and consumers have so many different choices that we’ve got to find creative ways to capture their attention.”
For some clients, new media is the way to go, but other clients might be targeting consumers who are not so tech-savvy.
“It all goes back to what’s the client’s business objective,” she said.
As a youngster, Ms. Coleman didn’t really think much about the media business and at the University of Illinois she studied computer engineering.
“But I realized when I sat in computer labs and I was the one talking while everyone else was trying to get work done that it just wasn’t the right fit for me,” she said. “I took an advertising class that I absolutely loved.”
She took a few more courses and found they allowed her to use her quantitative skills as well as the qualitative skills, she said.
Ms. Coleman eventually earned a degree in advertising.
She was recruited by Jack Klues, now chairman of Starcom parent Publicis Groupe Media, and started in the Leo Burnett media department in 1985 as a trainee. Since then, she has worked on a variety of accounts including McDonald’s Pillsbury and Heinz.Ms. Coleman lives with her dog Twinkle, a Maltese she rescued after it was abandoned at a groomer’s office.
She said he loves movies and has an extensive DVD collection.
She’ll watch romantic comedies like “While You Were Sleeping,” “Love and Basketball” and “Pretty Woman” over and over again.
She also takes DVDs with her if she’s in the office over the weekend or traveling.
Ms. Coleman also loves sports, particularly basketball and football.
“I love football but I’m not a die-hard Chicago Bears fan that will sit out in the cold. I’ll watch from the warmth of my home,” she said.
As her co-workers know, she’s likes to hold team events in karaoke bars.
“I have not been blessed with the talent of singing. I just like performing with my friends”, she said. “So I never get up there by myself, it’s usually a group. What I’ve found is once people start, they also enjoy it. You just need to get the party started.”
Who Knew:
Ms. Coleman recently put on a party for her parents 50th wedding anniversary.
“It was a huge project for me because I have no siblings to delegate these projects too,” she said. “It was so nice to have a function where people were coming together, family and friends, and it was a happy occasion. Because it seems like more often than not, especially as people get older, they’re just coming together for funerals. It was so much fun.”
This article is part of TVWeek.com’s Media Planner newsletter, a weekly source of breaking news, trend articles, profiles and data about media planning edited by Senior Editor Jon Lafayette.

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