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David Adelman Takes New CMO Post at MindShare

Oct 3, 2007  •  Post A Comment

David Adelman says his new job is all about communication.
Mr. Adelman last month was named MindShare North America’s chief marketing officer, a new post at the media agency.
To accomplish his assignment of growing business from both current clients and new accounts, it takes more than figuring out what clients want and how MindShare can deliver that. It’s making that clear across the board.
“I think that communications is a core element of the function, whether we’re communicating with clients, prospects, the press and industry and, very importantly, internally,” Mr. Adelman said.
And what clients want is fairly simple.
“Clients want ideas for how to grow their business,” he said. “I think that the opportunity is to translate an expertise in media and ratchet that up to a level into ideas that are really going to resonate at senior levels within client organizations.”
Mr. Adelman’s background positions him well to communicate with both clients and his agency colleagues, because he’s been on both sides of the desk.
He joins MindShare from healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson, where he was media director for the company’s global marketing group. He brought to J&J expertise in digital and emerging media in 2001, and introduced communications planning to the company.
He’d acquired those new-media skills at MediaEdge, where he’d been since joining its predecessor Young & Rubicam at the beginning of his career in the late 1980s.
“This is a really, really exciting time in the industry, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen it from a couple of different perspectives,” Mr. Adelman said. “So I think the MindShare folks were very interested in my combination of agency history as well as client-side perspective, and I thought this was a great time to come back to the agency side and make a difference.”
When Mr. Adelman left the agency business, new media was just barely on the radar. Now, it’s all that major advertisers seem to want to talk about.
“With the introduction of a lot of new and complex communication vehicles, in addition to a lot of the traditional tools that we have been using all along, come very, very tough strategic problems of how to create communications and strategies that are strong enough and robust enough to extend across all of that activity,” he said. “That’s where I think a lot of people are focused and a lot of people are working at, and this is an area where I think MindShare has some amazing capabilities.”
Mr. Adelman grew up in Park Forest, Ill., a southern suburb of Chicago.
“It’s where the city stops and cornfields begin,” he said.
He expected to grow up to be an architect, like his father and grandfather. Instead, a lecture by University of Illinois professor James Haefner made him fall in love with advertising and marketing.
“He was just a great, great representative of all of the most fun and exciting things about the agency business and ad agency culture,” he said. “And it was that day I decided I wanted to work in this industry.”
He said his family was supportive of his decision to forsake architecture. “They just wanted me to be happy,” he said.
Mr. Adelman got a job in media research at Y&R in New York. As the agency went through the changes of being acquired by WPP, then unbundled to form MediaEdge, he got new responsibilities and worked in new areas.
“I always did something new and different,” he said.
He also met his wife, who was a media planner at Y&R and MediaEdge. Now she works at home tending to their three children: Sam, 6, Vivian, 4, and 4-month old William.
He likes spending time home with the family and has combined his hobbies with family time. He’s interested in digital photography and shoots about 100 pictures of the kids on a typical sunny Saturday morning. He’s got an archive of about 30,000 digital photographs of his children. “About 300 good ones,” he modestly adds.
He’s also into high-end home theater design and equipment; every Friday night is family movie night in the home theater. Popcorn is popped the old-fashioned way, on the stove, and at least one of the films they view is something “we’ve seen 10,000 times, like ‘Madagascar’ or ‘Toy Story.’” By the end of the second movie, the kids are usually awake, but his wife is asleep, he said.
Who Knew: A few years ago, Mr. Adelman got interested in bowling and would hit the lanes fairly regularly.
“My friends always make fun of me because I owned my own bowling shoes and ball,” he said. He and a buddy would go to New York’s Bowlmor Lanes a couple of times a week, and he got to be pretty good, averaging somewhere between 150 and 200. He stopped bowling after having kids, but found himself at an alley with his son recently. “It’s fun. It’s loud. You go to a bowling alley, people are having a good time,” he said.

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