Rising Young Media Star: ZenithOptimedia’s Cosic

This is the fourth installment in MiC's series profiling next-gen media minds. Curious as to who these new thinkers are, and what they're thinking, strategy and MiC canvassed the industry, asking media shops to single out their top innovative and strategic recruits.

Who: Jelena Cosic, online account assistant, ZenithOptimedia, Toronto.

Claim to fame: Cosic is gaining a reputation with co-workers, sales reps and clients for being a quick study in the interactive media world – and as someone with a great aptitude for planning because of her eagerness to explore, solve problems and be proactive and accountable.

One campaign she says she’s particularly proud of launched in mid-April for Puma. It allowed Cosic’s creative side to break out as she worked directly with online sites to come up with some original placements to enhance a site’s standard appearance. Puma is the first product to ever take over the Martiniboys.com splash page with a campaign. It also appeared on Nowtoronto.com, Voir.ca and Georgiastraight.com.

Background: ‘About a year ago, I came straight out of the creative advertising program at the International Academy of Design and Technology eager to start anywhere in the ad world,’ says Cosic. ‘I took a position in online media with ZenithOptimedia as a jump-off point, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. I’m hooked.’

What brand is getting it right? ‘Most recently, I’d say the Windows Vista campaign is doing a really good job of delivering its message to online users. Almost every day for an entire week, a different online property was taken over by them, and the content was pushed around to show elements of the operating system in action.

‘It was extremely hard to miss this intrusive campaign – once you stopped freaking out and wondering where the home page had gone. It was hard not to pay attention to the content, and they actually gave you a product sample, which is very cool. The ad changed on every site to incorporate the page – so if it was on MSN, you’d see an MSN page in there, or on a Yahoo page, it was Yahoo. That was really clever.’

Which brand, other than your own clients’, would you most want to work on and why? ‘A smaller, more niche product. One of my favourites, and one I’ve always dreamed of working on, is Cake Beauty products (cakebeauty.com). It’s tiny, but with the right advertising it could definitely flourish. You actually get to smell like a cake.

‘If I worked on a campaign like this, there would be a lot of sampling – but online, because technology has yet to give us a scented screen. I would love to plan a campaign that plants just the right seed to get a viral campaign started. Just imagine people posting things on YouTube, such as what happened to them – like being followed – when they used the product.’

Are clients missing opportunities due to caution? ‘In my experience, clients like investing in proven results. Therefore, traditional media expectations have to be satisfied first on most campaigns – leaving all the exciting and new opportunities pushed aside and often forgotten. I would love to see a client come up with two budgets – one for traditional media and the second for exploring new opportunities. That would be a dream come true.’

What common industry belief or practice do you think should be trashed? ‘I’d love to see creative and media working as separate entities on the same campaign become a thing of the past. A successful campaign, in my opinion, is one that takes the right message and puts it in front of the right viewer at the right time.

‘You can have award-winning creative along with the top placements for a particular target, but if they don’t complement each other, the campaign’s potential for success is affected. I would love to see the two of them working together. I think coming from a creative perspective and being on the media side now, I’d be able to plan a more effective campaign if I knew what the creative was – and vice versa.’

What media vehicle or media tactic is going to be the next big thing, and why? ‘I think online video is going to be huge because it takes television – the medium people love the most – and puts the viewer in control of what they watch and when they watch it. With online video, what you want is there as often as you want it, which is the cool thing.

‘Most websites have already caught on to this trend and are becoming broadcast channels themselves. This is opening up a whole new opportunity for advertisers. It’s just the beginning, but I have a feeling this is going to be pretty big.’