5 Questions for Jim Meyer

Cofounder and CEO, Mindset Media

Here's a little something you can use to break that awkward elevator silence with a coworker: Someone who possesses high self-esteem is 48 percent more likely to purchase premium coffee. Here's another: If you consider yourself open and curious, you're 153 percent more likely to always buy organic. While OMMA doesn't profess to understand such connections, the psychographic specialists at Mindset Media certainly do. Naturally, we felt compelled to ask Jim Meyer, Mindset cofounder and CEO, to tell us what kind of coffee people with low self-esteem drink. "They are too ashamed to say," Meyer explains. And what kind of coffee does he drink? "Black." Undeterred after he expertly dodged our trick question, we decided to ask Meyer what a CEO is 153 percent more likely to do. "Make my company bigger and better and smarter," he answers matter-of-factly. "No, wait - that's 400 percent more likely. Sorry."

Do you have a favorite spot or shop in the lovely village of Tarrytown, N.Y., home of Mindset Media?
Our office rides the Irvington-Tarrytown line, so I'll take a minor liberty with the question and say the very nice Red Hat Bistro on the Hudson River in Irvington. My business partner and I were regulars in their cozy storefront location a few years back, and a lot of good ideas were hatched in there. Their new location is bigger and brighter, like Mindset Media is now, so we're still regulars. It's our go-to place.

During your career, you've worked at J. Walter Thompson, Saatchi & Saatchi and DMB&B. What's your fondest memory of your two decades in the ad business?
In 1999, when I was president of M&C Saatchi, two of us made an eight-minute presentation to the board of the newly merged GlaxoSmithKline and won that company's global corporate business. We were hopeless underdogs, but we got a standing ovation, and we beat a phalanx of stunned Ogilvy executives in the process. This was the closest I ever came to a real Mad Men moment - but what made the victory really sweet was that we had a fantastic idea, and the idea prevailed.

What's the next big trend in digital media?

I think the stylish answer now is mobile, just like "soccer" used to be the answer to the question, "What's the next big U.S. spectator sport?" But I think the right answer is ad technology. The thing that makes digital media different is that the nature of the audience can be determined before showing the ad. That means the media value really lies in the knowledge, in the ad technology layer, not inherently in the impression. That's a big deal! The only limits on value creation are intelligence and respectful anonymity. Behavioral targeting has only scratched the surface of what's possible in ad technology.

What is the ideal targeted advertising?
The advertising does not intrude mechanically or forcibly, but rather finds its way into the viewer's
consciousness because it belongs there - because it says something that resonates both rationally and emotionally with the viewer. This has always been true, offline and now online. Technology does not alter the fundamental obligation of advertising to be compelling.

What's the most annoying online trend?
I think the Internet world occasionally confuses what's possible for what's plausible, and, in the process, misses the bigger opportunity. The Internet is still very young - and dramatically underspent as an ad medium by brands. I have no doubt there are people out there who are passionate about their mayonnaise and willing to write about it, but the idea making its way around conferences this year that the blogosphere can serve as an effective substitute for advertising in consumer packaged goods is microscopic. The big opportunity for the Internet is to get a proper share of brand advertising dollars - the share our medium deserves based on its now-vast audience. That's a $50 billion gap.

Next story loading loading..