Meyer Sees Magic at Horizon

Jul 16, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Tom Meyer spent 20 years—his entire career—at Carat before deciding to move to Horizon this year.
That’s really not such a long time. After all, Mr. Meyer’s father spent 47 years working at Lockheed.
“It’s kind of part of my DNA,” he said of his employment longevity.
Indeed, Mr. Meyer said he wasn’t even looking for a job when a recruiter called him.
Recruiters usually which agency they’re recruiting for, he said. “But in this case, she did tell me and everything I knew about it was all on the good side. So I took it from there and said, ‘Sure, I’d love to investigate further.’”
At Carat, Mr. Meyer had done mostly planning and research, with a little bit of media buying and client service work thrown in. For the last five or six years, he worked at Carat Insight, the agency’s research arm, an assignment that dovetailed nicely with his education.
“Both sociology and economics [which he studied at UCLA] are the root of what we do in the media world,” he said.
But Horizon had just created a new unit, Curious@Horizon, that promised to take the insights from Mr. Meyer—whose title is VP for channel insights—and put them into practice.
The guy in charge of that is Marc Strijdveen, senior VP of creative media solutions,
“We’re developing tools, we’re exhaustively digging into syndicated resources and developing our own custom studies, but we also have that additional entity that helps bring the work that we do to life, and I think that’s really cool,” Mr. Meyer said.
Mr. Meyer said that when he was being recruited by Horizon, his first interview was with Zack Rosenberg, managing director for the West Coast.
“And he asked Mark if he had five minutes to meet me,” Mr. Meyer recalled. “And an hour and a half later we said our goodbyes. That just goes to show you how exciting everything was for me. The opportunity sort of came to life for me at that point.”
In his new job, Mr. Meyer works with the Curious@Horizon team, which brings together the core disciplines of consumer insights, channel insights and media creativity, seamlessly focusing them on individual brand-communication efforts.
There was a comfort level at the agency, because a team that had worked on the Jack in the Box account moved to Horizon from Carat when that business changed agencies.
“It was kind of like being reacquainted with a lot of old family members,” Mr. Meyer said.
Now that he’s been with the agency for a while, he’s developing some proprietary research. One of the first places Mr. Meyer saw a need was in the video game market.
“I’m going to be working on coming up with a specific study that addresses the marketing needs that video game publishers have,” he said.
It’s not an area where he’s particularly up-to-date. He admits he doesn’t have a video game console, either an Xbox 360, a Wii or a PlayStation 3.
He’s planning to get one soon, and said he hadn’t considered expensing it to the business.
“I’m a father of two—two little girls, 6 and 4—and I figure sooner or later they’re going to be craving one of those things as well, so I might as well accommodate them and learn about this new business at the same time,” he said.
Mr. Meyer was born in Taipei, Taiwan, while his father was stationed there for Lockheed. The family moved back to California when he was 4, then moved to the U.K. when he was 9. They returned again in time for Mr. Meyer to go to high school in the San Fernando Valley and attend UCLA.
After graduating, Mr. Meyer started taking accounting courses, but he spied an ad for an ad agency called ICG in the paper and took a job there.
“About a week after starting I gave up my classes at night, and 20 years later, I was still in the same place,” he said.
Who knew: Mr. Meyer is a member of the famed Magic Castle in Hollywood, but doesn’t know how to do a single trick. He discovered the world of magic from an old friend who was moving back to L.A. It turned out the friend was manufacturing hand-held tricks and became a librarian at the castle. Mr. Meyer liked the place and started getting into the history of magic. Now he sometimes takes guests to the castle, which features a restaurant and a pair of showrooms. “Magicians are a special breed,” he says.


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