OMMA Online AllStars: Ed Gold
Advertising Director, State Farm Insurance Companies
Try this tidy oxymoron on for size: cutting-edge State Farm. Much of its digital savvy can be attributed to Ed Gold. He swept in five years ago, moving the once-staid company from a digital also-ran to a sector leader. While State Farm's online bread-and-butter is sports sponsorships that incorporate offline deals, Gold has also taken State Farm into some unusual places, such as MySpace; the company first established a presence there way back in 2005, when most feared to even try. "People don't expect State Farm to be all hip and happening," Gold says.
Tom Bell, group account director on State Farm at OMD USA, attributes Gold's success not only to his intelligence but also to his warm, optimistic personality, which allows him to persuade his company to do things others might find intimidating. The result has been a quick embrace of digital media channels; the company even won a Bronze Lion in 2007 for nowwhat.com, which educates young people about insurance.