Corry Grows Web Feats

Apr 16, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Drew Corry never got called “The Toad” before he landed his latest job. Nor was he ever sent a stuffed platypus like the one now in his office.
“I guess that’s the price you’ve got to pay,” said Mr. Corry, who in February was named head of Initiative’s Amphibian unit, designed to help clients with projects that have both traditional media and digital elements.
Mr. Corry said reaction to the unit’s colorful name has been good so far.
“There’s cocked heads sometimes when you say the name of it, but then people get it in about three or four seconds,” he said. “It’s definitely sexier than our previous name, which was Digital Extension.”
While some may picture toads and lizards, Initiative points to a dictionary.com definition of amphibian used by scientists. “Anything that they considered having combined natures, they referred to them as amphibians,” Mr. Corry said. “We draw the parallel that we can live in different media worlds pretty comfortably.”
Before it got its label, the five-man team was doing work for clients including S.C. Johnson. For that company, it devised a digital widget to go along with a sponsorship of NBC’s show “The Biggest Loser.” The widget helped users keep track of their own weight-loss progress on their desktops. That’s not the thing you’d want on your social-networking page, Mr. Corry noted.
The unit also worked with Lifetime for S.C. Johnson on a program that gave webcams to women and tracked their progress in keeping New Year’s resolutions, creating user-generated content with the client’s products woven in.
Mr. Corry expects his group to be looking for opportunities for clients during the upfront ad market.
“We take advantage of budgets opportunistically,” he said. “You’ll certainly see us executing
some things in the upfront.”
Clients have a growing demand for the types of digital programs driven by traditional television.
“There’s been a very clear progression for clients’ appetites for these things,” he said. “The more you read in the press about it, people get excited about it, they see what other people are doing and they want to replicate that.”
Mr. Corry’s evolution into a media man who’s part digital and part traditional came after a six-year stint as a national broadcast buyer at Initiative, working on big brands such as Coors, Levi’s, John Deere and Dockers.
“I was always interested in the digital space,” he said, so he asked his boss, Tim Spengler, now president of Initiative’s U.S. arm, to put him in the interactive group.
“I went back and I started doing all the backroom stuff you do as an assistant, which I hadn’t seen in years,” Mr. Corry recalled. “But when you get your hands dirty, you get a much better sense of what it’s all about. That was my path toward learning interactive.”
Mr. Corry’s path to the media business started on New York’s Long Island, where he grew up hoping to be a baseball player. He also considered following in his father’s sneakers as a phys-ed teacher. That idea ended during college with a required dance class populated by football players.
He ended up a marketing major at Bryant College in Rhode Island. Near graduation time, a fraternity brother who was a media buyer told him about his work on the Sega account. It sounded interesting to Mr. Corry, a video game fan.
“I knew I had to get a job or my parents would be angry with me,” he said. “So I kind of fell into it and then found a real passion for it.”
He got his first job at TN Media, which became a part of Initiative.
Mr. Corry remains a huge baseball fan. His rotisserie team has great pitching but no hitting, he said. He also loves his digital gadgets, including his HDTV, which affects the way he looks at TV professionally.
“I think your channel choices shrink to what is in HD. It’s like you almost become a TV snob. You’re watching nature shows because there’s nothing else on in HD,” he said.
Mr. Corry is engaged to Jessi Katz, who works at NBC Universal’s USA and Sci Fi cable networks.
The wedding is scheduled for November and Mr. Corry is helping with the arrangements—sort of.
“I’ve been getting into trouble, because everything I’ve been given responsibility to do is somehow not getting done. I’ve got to step it up there,” he said.
He sometime tells his fiancée the delays are caused by activity at the office, “but she only buys that to a certain extent.”
Who knew: Mr. Corry said he’d like to teach history some day. He said he’s enjoying HBO’s miniseries on John Adams. “It’s really good, and it’s kind of reinvigorated my love for early American history,” he said.


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