Media convergence, interacting with angels, and paprika-crusted pork tenderloin
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 getting to know Tony Caruso, a senior media planner for Fire Station, a full-service in-house agency for Roll Global Corporation in Los Angeles. Tony started at Roll as a marketing assistant in 2007, before Fire Station even existed. After testing the waters at a couple of other agencies, he rejoined Roll in his current position earlier this year and now works his media magic on all the company's brands, including Wonderful Pistachios, Cuties Clementines, POM Wonderful, Fiji Water, and Teleflora.
Yahoo! Ad Blog: You work on a lot of different brands for Roll. Do you have a favorite campaign you've done recently?
Tony Caruso: Probably the TV portion of the Get Crackin' campaign for Wonderful Pistachios. We got to do a mix of dayparts and include some sports programming in there---which made me happy, because I'm a big sports fan. We have a really cool Simpsons spot, and a Village People spot, and we did a cinema integration with Frankenweenie. Getting to see the breadth of the full campaign come together and go across the huge media buy has been rewarding.
YAB: What would you say is the most challenging part of your job at Fire Station?
TC: We're an in-house agency and a full-service media team, and we've been trained to work on all media for all of our clients. It's unique that I get to touch everything from print to mobile to online to outdoor and TV. We're not divvied up into specialized roles---and I actually enjoy that. I get to learn a lot, but it's a lot to process, too.
In terms of the industry as a whole, it's a challenge to stay educated on all the new things coming out and how all the worlds are overlapping. Whether it's watching TV and being on your computer, or driving and listening to the radio, or QR codes and mobile applications---everything is just kind of converging.
YAB: Are there any new trends that light your fire, personally?
TC: Some of the augmented reality things out there are great. The media vendor JC Decaux showed us something they had done in London for Axe body spray. It started with a big sticker on the ground that said, "Stand here and look up," and as you looked up, there was a giant television screen with you on it and these angels would fall in next you. They weren't actually there, but you could see them on the screen and you could interact with them.
I've seen similar technology where, for example, you walk into a mall and a computerized display recognizes a brand you're wearing. It sees you have a big Adidas logo on your shirt, so it tells you there's a sale at Foot Locker on Adidas products.
YAB: Are there any trends or concerns you're hearing a lot about from clients right now?
TC: A couple months ago there were a ton of questions about Pinterest. Over the last year or two, there have been a lot of questions about tablets. Clients want to be the first to market with things. They never want to feel like they're being left behind---and it's our job to bring them up to speed, and figure out the best way to leverage the brands with a new vehicle or a new website.
YAB: Media planning can be fast-paced and stressful. How do you de-stress?
TC: I really like sports; soccer is my favorite, so I play and watch a fair amount. I'm an avid cigar aficionado. And after college, I actually went to culinary school and was a chef for a couple years before I fell into advertising. So cooking is still one of my passions.
YAB: Do you have a favorite cigar?
TC: Rocky Patel Vintage 1992.
YAB: Favorite soccer team?
TC: Locally, it's the L.A. Galaxy. I also watch a lot of English soccer, and I like Manchester City.
YAB: Any signature dishes from your days as a chef?
TC: Herb-and-paprika-crusted pork tenderloin with a Peruvian potato mash and caramelized apples.
YAB: You're hired!