Editor's Note: What's on the minds of media planners? That's what our "Meet a Media Planner" series aims to uncover as we chat with media and search planners at agencies across the country. Today we're checking in with Jason Yoong, integrated media supervisor at Universal McCann in Los Angeles. Jason kicked off his media career at UM, starting out as an assistant planner and moving up to media planner. Now a supervisor, he works with 17 team members who strive to deliver (and over-deliver) great ideas for the Sony Electronics account---applying what Jason likes to call the "YES&" approach to media planning.
Yahoo! Ad Blog: What new trends and technologies look particularly promising for clients?
Jason Yoong: Mobile platforms like Wal-Mart's new "geo-fenced" app or Apple's new Passbook will definitely help retailers increase sales. Gathering data on which products shoppers are scanning, what they're buying or not buying, and how much they're spending will help advertisers really understand their audiences. And as NFC (Near Field Communication) continues to grow with smartphones, that's going to be huge.
I also think cause marketing is really important. The Gen Y audience doesn't just want it from brands anymore, they expect it. If you're a top brand and you're not doing it, there's something missing.
YAB: Are there any specific concerns Sony has about the market today. If so, how are you addressing them?
JY: Breaking through the "noise" of advertising is a big initiative we want to continue driving because consumers are getting better and better at tuning out ads. With Sony, rather than focusing on traditional platforms, we're trying to develop more content-focused pieces that consumers will pay attention to and, ideally, share on social networking sites. With the right video or article content, we can get people to engage with our ads and pass the word on to their friends.
YAB: Looking back over your career so far, what's the most significant lesson you've learned about media planning?
JY: I think it's to always be curious. Media and technology are changing every day; in fact, they're practically becoming one in the same. It's a really interesting time right now because technology shapes consumer behavior, yet we also see consumer behavior shaping technology. It's so important for planners to stay on top of it all and continually strive to not only know what the next big thing will be but to create it.
YAB: What's the most satisfying part of your job?
JY: It's extremely gratifying to mentor new, young assistant planners. I get to teach them the ins and outs, have great discussions with them, pick their brains, and see their growth. That's really satisfying.
YAB: Does your family understand what you do for a living?
JY: Short answer: not really. I love what I do, so I talk about it with them every day, and they still don't know. They just know I enjoy it and that I help impact media in some way. And if they ever see a Sony Electronics ad, they say they think of me.
YAB: If you had to change careers tomorrow, what would you love to do besides media planning?
JY: I'm not good at it whatsoever, but architecture is a huge passion of mine. I'd like to travel the world looking at architecture and figuring out how to combine different styles into new combinations. I love the idea of integrating two very different things.
I would also love to be the owner of the L.A. Lakers.
YAB: You're a basketball fan?
JY: I'm a huge basketball fan, partly because I think it's so much more than just a sport. For me, it's this common passion that unites people from different walks of life. I could meet someone tomorrow who doesn't speak the same language I do, but if we both have a passion for basketball, all we need is a ball. We don't even need words. I think that's so powerful. NBA players are more than just athletes, they're ambassadors for this powerful uniting force.
YAB: So what do you think the Lakers' chances are this year?
JY: I predict they'll beat the Clippers in the Western Conference Finals and beat the Miami Heat for the NBA championship in seven games.
YAB: You heard it here first, folks.