Rising young media star: ZenithOptimedia’s Lavender

This is the final installment in MiC's latest series profiling next-gen media minds - identified after strategy and MiC asked media shops to single out their top innovative and strategic recruits.

Who: Tracey Lavender, account executive, ZenithOptimedia, Toronto.

Claim to fame: ZenithOptimedia describes Lavender as having high-level commitment and creativity. Her portfolio ranges from kids and moms to business to consumer, on a roster of clients that includes GlaxoSmithKline, 20th Century Fox and General Mills.

One of Lavender’s recent faves is a child snack plan for General Mills’ Fruit by the Foot. In 2006, this product was taken to a new level with YTV’s Weird on Wheels event marketing program. This involved an online game and brand sell TV spots, along with a live-action event and a sampling game for kids. A stunt event on YTV extended the fun with an extra 15 minutes of popular shows. The idea was to play on the ‘Extending your fun’ Fruit by the Foot theme.

Background: A Humber College media and English grad, Lavender joined Toronto-based Initiative Media in 2003 as a broadcast assistant before making the move to the planning department of ZenithOptimedia in 2004.

Which brand is getting it right? ‘Bell was able to grab attention with its pre-Christmas teaser campaign, taking it across OOH, TV and print. People were wondering what it was, because it was everywhere.’

Which brands would you most want to work on? ‘The Toronto Zoo, Canada’s Wonderland or the Royal Ontario Museum. These are places where people have fun and the media should express that excitement. Maybe place a Fiberglas dinosaur in (Toronto’s) Museum subway station near the ROM to show the newest exhibit. That would be a real generator.’

What media tactic is going to be the next big thing? ‘More people are adapting to PVR technology, so we need to find alternative ways to reach the average TV consumer. TV shows are willing to work your product into a story line, and that’s where advertising and reality are becoming more seamless. It’s not necessarily coming across like an ad, but it’s there, and people recall it.’