Media Strategist All Star: Scott Witt, Group Director-Digital, Coca-Cola City, a Unit of Starcom MediaVest Group

When last we checked, Scott Witt was still adjusting to the rigors of his leadership post in MediaVest's digital group. As the point man for Coca-Cola's digital-media initiatives, he was thrilled by the opportunity but somewhat frustrated by the brand's initial hesitation to invest significantly in the online space. He was 29, and he wasn't sleeping a whole lot. "It was both humbling and scary," says Witt of his first full year on the job. Several months later, the Coca-Cola/MediaVest pairing has proven fruitful, with a trifecta of programs garnering both popular and critical kudos. "Scott's just like his brand: He's very authentic," says Joseph Jaffe, president of jaffe LLC and author of Life After the 30-Second Spot. "While the rest of the world is figuring out how to build the bridge between media and creative, Scott is becoming that bridge."

One widely lauded program run by Witt was a collaboration between Coke's Sprite brand and MSN, dubbed "The Scenario." The program attempted to connect with hip-hop fans by doing something other than merely doling out free music downloads. MediaVest proposed tracking down well-known DJs and asking them to compile their personal playlists, which would then be aired via a customized application on "The Scenario" Web site.

"The Scenario" included a custom instant-messaging application, which will soon be expanded to incorporate what Witt calls "a very robust, Flash interactive graffiti wall, kind of a 3-D-modeled cityscape."

"There's so much music on the Web -- with a single keystroke, you have unfettered egalitarian access to every piece of music produced," Witt says. "Because of this, there's a need for curation. The playlist becomes the killer application, and that's what we offered."

MediaVest also paired the Coca-Cola Classic brand with the Mavericks Surf Contest. Witt and his team essentially served as the site's creative directors.

"It was the kind of opportunity you salivate over -- the chance to sit down with a blank piece of paper," he says. The tie-in to Mavericks' Web site likely did more to underscore the newly tweaked positioning of Coca-Cola Classic than a multimillion-dollar network ad buy would have.

MediaVest's crowning achievement in the digital space over the last year, however, may be its pairing of Diet Coke with Reuters. The agency put forward an ambitious program for a customized newswire. It meant creating an algorithm of sorts to retrieve and display lighter Reuters fare that aligned with the Diet Coke brand. MediaVest coordinated delivery of the Reuters content via an RSS feed, a mobile application, and a ticker-like device for online ads. Witt is the first to admit that the campaign wasn't an easy sell. "Reuters isn't the type of partner you'd think would deliver a Diet Coke-like experience," he says. "But they have 40,000 reporters around the world. They produce thousands of pieces of content every day. Not all of them are about bombs in Iraq."

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