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Hagedorn Brings Digital to OMD’s Core

Feb 6, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The rise of Scott Hagedorn to managing director of OMD East is another sign of the ascension of digital in the media world.
Mr. Hagedorn had been U.S. director of OMD Digital and never had a job in traditional media buying. But as digital becomes more and more mainstream, senior people with experience in the field are in greater demand and getting bigger jobs.
“Digital is more than just a channel. It’s becoming the very infrastructure that campaigns and marketing efforts live on,” Mr. Hagedorn said.
Traditional media, particularly TV, remains where the bulk of the money goes that agencies handle, but Mr. Hagedorn notes, “We’re seeing a lot of migration on the client side as well.”
That said, it’s clear broadcast investment remains “critically important” these days, he noted. “I think the marriage that we see happening these days is that broadcast TV and the Web are best friends. They’re like tomato and basil. They work really well together. By figuring out how to leverage those two things together, you get a great customer experience.”
The agency has new tools for planning and measuring digital as part of an overall campaign. Take an automotive account. While the consumer gets initial emotional cues about which car he or she might buy from TV, over time he gets information about vehicles from other sources, Mr. Hagedorn said. Using communications planning tools, a sequential plan can be made to “weave digital and all the other channels into it at the right points to be relevant. It’s now more of an approach than an allocation of dollars.”
One problem with integrating digital into the agency mainstream is there aren’t enough people qualified to do it.
“The biggest issue is talent,” Mr. Hagedorn said. “There are very few of what I would call ‘digital upperclassmen’ out there. They are survivors of the bubble and the burst and they stuck with it. Those are the ones now that are in demand and the digital upperclassmen people that are getting the opportunities to become multichannel experts. They’re hard to find—that’s the trick.”
Mr. Hagedorn cut his interactive teeth in his first job at Atlanta agency West Wayne (like Adam West and Bruce Wayne, he says, making a “Batman” reference). He was an account planner on the AT&T and Bell South accounts when the Internet was still something used mostly in private business, but he considered it part of his job to figure out the cultural impact of this new technology.
The decentralization of communications power that he saw happening has mostly come to pass.
“It almost feels like there was a quiet technical revolution that happened back then, and then all of a sudden the world of marketing specifically and the world of how people interact with each other just fundamentally really changed,” he said. “And I was well positioned, as somebody that was kind of thinking about the qualitative and anthropological side of the impact of the technology, to consider what the marketing future of it would be.”
He moved to the client side with Global Crossing, running the advertising group for one of its divisions, making him responsible, at 28 years old, for a $25 million marketing budget.
He then started his own interactive agency, Breathe Interactive, which he later sold to West Wayne.
Born in Miami, Mr. Hagedorn wanted to go into the advertising business from his earliest days. TV shows such as “thirtysomething” made the business look as if there were often a party going on.
“My perception was more ‘Mad Men’ as a show than what it actually is now,” he said.
When he was 13 he worked as a typesetter in a Tampa, Fla., agency. He majored in advertising, with minors in computer science and anthropology, at the University of Florida.
“I’m the only person I know that uses their degree,” he said. “For some reason, that’s exactly what I got into.”
In his spare time, Mr. Hagedorn enjoys music and video games. He plays guitar and keyboards and used to be in a techno-jazz band called Digitalia. Having a brother-in-law at EA helps him with his video game habit, which includes an Xbox and Wii.
He’s also a blogger, taking video clip from trips with his wife and turning them into music videos that he posts on his site, hagedlic.blogspot.com.
And he reads during his travels; he recently finished a couple of light volumes, “Atlas Shrugged” and “Gravity’s Rainbow.”
Who Knew: Mr. Hagedorn’s family is descended from Peter Hagedorn, who was among the first colonizers of New Amsterdam, now New York. His people, who were Dutch, came to this country as indentured servants to the British. They revolted, and his forefather was a part of that, Mr. Hagedorn said. To get in touch with that era, he’s reading “The Island at the Center of the World,” a book about Dutch Manhattan by Russell Shorto.

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