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Imagination Running Wild at StarCom

With so many choices at their fingertips, today's consumers are learning how to be the boss! At a meeting with marketing consultants during the 2005 AdForum Summit in New York, StarCom MediaVest Group dissected the finer points of 'consumer empowerment.'

The group has been busy on several campaigns, including the U.S. Army "Band of Brothers" promotional TV spot and the "Red Carpet Confidential" spot promoting Procter & Gamble beauty products. Whether it is about serving a noble cause or wearing the same lipstick as a celebrity, StarCom wants consumers to truly feel the power.

CEO Laura Desmond and U.S. CEO John Muszynski are leading the way, with help from their talented Chief Innovation Officer Rishad Tobaccowala. According to Tobaccowala, today we have better technology and smarter people. "The consumer prefers personalized content and ability to manipulate that content," he said. Such content has been reaching consumers through a new wave of media: video-on-demand, digital TV, broadband, and wireless, to name a few.

According to Desmond and Muszynski, StarCom is fully activating its network and resources, being future-friendly, measuring achievements and accountability, and becoming a market-maker by recognizing that consumers lead the process. "We are known to be a first-mover," they said. "We don't wait for an opportunity, we create it."

Fundamentally, they begin with an idea that links a brand concept together, analyze whether the brand's message is getting out, and determine the cost of getting out that message. StarCom has been successful with major accounts such as GM , Kelloggs, and Coca-Cola's new G2 drink. To jump ahead of the curve, the agency has gone so far as to turn a shampoo ad in the Phillipines into a national dance craze, driving product sales through the roof.

Keeping pace with the consumer-centric trend, StarCom has adapted to the changing tides and has produced work that stays ahead of the game. "The future of media is malleable like a spine," Tobaccowala said. "We have to think with imagination!"