Rising young media star: ZenithOptimedia’s Soucy

This is the ninth installment in MiC's series profiling next-gen media minds. How did we find them? MiC and strategy canvassed the industry, asking media shops to single out their top innovative and strategic recruits.

Who: Catherine Soucy, account manager, ZenithOptimedia Montreal

Claim to fame: Considered an intellectual hyperactive around the agency, Soucy is credited for being a strong strategist and always stepping up to a challenge. She was responsible for the 2007 planning for all L’Oréal Paris divisions – skincare and cosmetics – involving print, TV, online, contest entry and OOH, including billboard domination in downtown Toronto.

Background: Soucy has been in the business for two years, after graduating from the University of Montreal with a bachelor’s degree in advertising/marketing. She began her career in Montreal with an internship in the research field and quickly moved to planning. She transferred to the Toronto office for eight months, but is now back in Montreal on the recently won L’Oréal Paris biz and with a promotion to account manager.

What brand is getting it right? ‘Nike – its vision, innovation, emotion and pure brand equity. It makes us feel empowered. It is very consumer-focused, consistent, integrated, big, and everything it does conveys this – for example, RUNTO or Nike+iPod Sport Kit. It’s huge in OOH. It’s a brand that, like its message, is dynamic, wanting to push the limits, invent and explore new media opportunities – but it always resonates with consumers. Nike is everywhere I expect it to be – which is the unexpected.’

Are clients still missing new opportunities due to caution? ‘Yes, mostly due to sheer CPM measurements, which don’t usually take into account the impact of the idea – the consumer WOM, PR opportunities or the negotiating power it can give. Lack of metrics makes big ideas and new media channels difficult to sell. Even if the environment is highly relevant, they remain hard to quantify in terms of sales and ROI.’

What common industry belief should be trashed? ‘That for your print ad to be noticed, it has to be in the first quarter of a magazine on a right-hand page. Data (Starch, Magazines Canada) show that the difference is not as great as some expect. Highly relevant, targeted content has a strong link to the level of receptiveness and brand consideration among consumers. It’s all about the quality of the environment.’