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'd like you to meet Larisa Johnson, a finalist in the 2012 Yahoo! Young Media Stars competition and a media supervisor for Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in Sausalito, California. Larisa joined Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in April 2011 and was recently promoted to media supervisor on the MINI USA account, which has allowed her to help plan some big media pushes around a line of popular little cars.
Yahoo! Ad Blog: What aspect of your job makes you feel the most satisfied---like it's the reason you became a media planner?
Larisa Johnson: Being able to put a creative plan together and then see it out in the market. Having one of my friends say, "Hey look, there's a MINI ad! Don't you work on MINI?" Just having something tangible that I can see and know "This is what I worked on."
YAB: What's one of the most interesting projects you've done for MINI so far?
LJ: At the end of last year, we launched the coupe with a giant out-of-home installment in the meatpacking district of New York City. It was a giant rocket with a coupe attached, and we had a street team dressed as astronauts handing out freeze-dried ice cream. We definitely created some social buzz from that. It was really fun.
YAB: What technology or trends are top of mind for you as you work with MINI?
LJ: Continuing improvements on existing efforts. I think mobile is going to improve a lot in the next couple years, and we continue to see a ton of improvement in online video. Then there's the social space that's always changing. I think there will be something big on the horizon there; I don't think Facebook is going to continue to be the dominant force.
YAB: It won't?
LJ: No. The girl who sits next to me at work---her grandparents are on Facebook. Kids don't want to join what their grandparents and parents are on. There's going to have to be something new.
YAB: Is there a campaign or strategy you've seen in the last year or so---outside of MINI---that impressed you because of its originality or effectiveness?
LJ: I think GAP is doing a lot of really inventive things. They were one of the first brands engaging on Pinterest when no other brand knew how to use it.
YAB: How do you explain what you do to your mom and dad?
LJ: My parents think I spend all my time hanging out with reps and partying! I usually just tell them "You know when you see ads? I decide to put them there." It's layman's terms.
YAB: When you look at your job now, what's the biggest challenge?
LJ: My team is really big on tackling what's new in the space, so we have to stay on top of everything, know everything that's going on, know what's new and cool and buzz-worthy.
YAB: Looking back, how has the job been different than you thought it would be?
LJ: I was lucky enough to be in a college program where I could take media-planning classes, so I kind of knew what I was in for. I also did some internships and had some realists preparing me. I knew it was going to change every single year, and I haven't been wrong about that!