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Carat’s McDougall Goes for Global Outlook

Jan 9, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Grant McDougall’s background should help him in his new job with Carat as executive VP, group director, where he sees his primary responsibility as globalizing some of the agency’s key accounts.
Globalization should be a snap for someone born in South Africa, raised in Australia and educated in Hong Kong. He’s also worked in Japan, China, Europe and the U.S.
“One of the things that Carat’s been looking for is people with the ability to be truly international and [who] have got market knowledge,” he said.
“I kind of feel that you have to travel, you have to explore, you need to see the world in the context of the people that live there,” he said. “I think if you’re going to be a marketer, you have to have that inquisitive nature.”
At his last job with Modem Media, he handled the Hewlett-Packard account, first in Europe from London and then globally from San Francisco.
That gave him four or five years of experience in marketing over multiple geographies. Handling more than a dozen different countries and language differences isn’t easy.
“You have to understand the dynamics of what’s occurring in any market. You have to have the capacity to talk across the markets in a way that’s meaningful and understand the regional marketing organizations,” he said.
From San Francisco he returned to London to help merge Modem Media with Publicis.
In addition to being savvy about the international market, Mr. McDougall is well versed in integrated marketing.
He was exposed to the Internet in his real first job, which was for Australian company Intelifest, which in 1999 was putting medical journals online.
“No one knew about the Internet. We had to be educators, tell them what the Internet was and how they could use it and capitalize on it,” he said.
He moved to a company called Next Media, which published a magazine called Internet.au. At the same time, he was consulting and building Web sites.
From there, he went to an agency called Spike that was on the cutting edge.
“That’s where I got my inspiration,” he said.
Now, with the Internet an accepted part of the marketing mix, he sees Carat, which recently combined its traditional and digital businesses in the U.S., as well-positioned to handle clients that want integrated marketing plans.
A few days before he spoke to TelevisionWeek, Mr. McDougall was in a Carat new-business pitch.
“I had probably 10 or 12 people in the room, but they could all talk to all the disciplines, which is really exciting,” he said. “It’s very rare to be in a situation where you don’t get the TV guy talking about TV, the online guy talking about online. You’re not talking about media activation, or TV; it’s what is the business problem, how do we resolve it from a communications standpoint and how do we activate it with our core skills, which is the media elements of Carat.”
Mr. McDougall is based in Carat’s San Francisco office, where he worked on the team that tried to retain the recently departed Hyundai and Kia accounts. Now he’ll be part of the agency’s effort to land a new automotive account. He’ll also be part of a campaign to add technology accounts, given his background.
Single but living with someone, Mr. McDougall says he’s a pretty keen golfer and tries to get a game in every week.
He’s also a photographer. During a recent two-week safari in Tanzania and Kenya, he took 3,000 or 4,000 pictures. “It’s epic. I’m still sifting through them,” he said.
Who knew: Mr. McDougall says he has an extensive collection of tattoos that he began getting when he was about 30. “I’m quite a visual guy. After being in Japan and seeing Japanese artwork, I started on the process,” he said. “I try to get a new tattoo each year.” His tattoos tend to be quite large, taking 40 to 50 hours each to complete. When people discover his body art, it’s usually a nice surprise. “People always smile when they find out,” he said, noting the tattoos can especially cause a stir in the locker room of some golf clubs.

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