Editor's Note: "Meet a Media Planner" is our ongoing series of Q&As where we find out what's on the minds of media planners at agencies across the country. Today we're talking with Erin Morris, a senior associate media planner for Mindshare. Erin started as an intern for the company in Chicago just over two years ago, servicing the Abbott Labs account. After accepting a fulltime position, she relocated to New York City and joined the media team dedicated to AMEX. She's currently enjoying the bright lights and the big client.
Yahoo! Ad Blog: You've been in the media planning business for a while. Has the job differed a lot from what you expected going into it?
Erin Morris: In the very beginning, I really didn't know what I was getting into. My boss told me one of the reasons she hired me as an intern in Chicago was because I said I was one of the few people on Earth who still liked to balance her checkbook. I knew those kinds of numbers and processes were going to be involved in the job, but what I didn't expect were all the opportunities to be creative.
YAB: Which parts of the job do you find most creatively satisfying?
EM: Our brainstorming sessions. We have a rule that no idea is a stupid idea, and you can say anything. We always have snacks and everyone's on a sugar high, so a lot of really interesting ideas come out. It's fun to be involved with an idea that starts in a brainstorm, and then see it through to launch and post-analysis.
YAB: Is there a recent campaign you found especially inspirational or effective?
EM: AMEX just launched some really cool spots in the U.S. Open highlighting how they support Fresh Courts, which is a program between AMEX and the U.S. Tennis Association that refurbishes inner-city tennis courts.
Another favorite was the Nike campaign that ran around the Olympics. It highlighted everyday athletes competing around the world in small cities and towns named London---with the exception of London, England, of course. The Olympics are always really cool for advertising, but knowing that Nike wasn't an official sponsor made it even more interesting. It's great to see how brands can stay top of mind even when they face limitations.
YAB: How do you explain what you do to your mom and dad?
EM: I usually tell them that my team is responsible for making sure the right people see the right brand messages at the right time. I say that we're completely responsible for understanding every part of that---who's the target, what we want them to see, when and where we want them to see it, and why it's beneficial to them as a consumer.
YAB: What's top of mind with your AMEX clients right now, in terms of concerns or priorities?
EM: One of the things we talk about daily is just navigating the crazy media world and how to best focus resources. There's so much going on---gaming, interactive television, mobile, social media. My team's job is to come up with the optimal mix of paid, owned and earned media, making sure the campaign has wide brand awareness but can also be hyper-targeted in certain areas.
YAB: Are there any particular industry trends or technologies you're excited about right now?
EM: Definitely mobile. We're working with a company called Session M that rewards users for engaging and consuming content on mobile devices. It's great; you get points for watching ads and then can use them to buy gift cards or experiences or really cool things you'd actually use.
YAB: How do you reward yourself or de-stress after a long week?
EM: My weekends consist of a lot of time in vintage furniture shops and doing home décor stuff. I never really shop for shoes or clothes, I'm just always shopping for glasses or dishes or the perfect throw pillow. It's almost to the point where it can be considered an addiction. Luckily I live in Brooklyn, where there's no shortage of kitschy home boutiques.