Corporate Eye

Who are the Most Influential People in Advertising, Marketing and Media?

AdWeek is conducting a poll to help its editors determine who the most influential person in advertising, marketing and media is.  Since branding is so closely integrated with advertising, marketing and media, I was immediately drawn to this survey.  However, I was disappointed in the list of people to vote for.

The list is made up of a number of popular bloggers, corporate execs, and celebrities, but it seems to be missing something.  I’m not suggesting that Oprah Winfrey isn’t influential.  She probably tops this list in many parts of the world, but I do think the list should be split between the celebrities and bloggers and the people in the trenches of advertising and marketing.  It doesn’t seem appropriate to top a list of the most influential people in advertising, marketing and media with J.J. Abrams.  I know Lost is a popular TV show and I loved Alias, but it doesn’t make complete sense.  I should also mention that as of right now, Steve Jobs of Apple is in the lead with almost twice as many votes as the next closest person on the list.

It goes back to the rule of not trying to make your brand be everything to everyone.  I’m not sure what AdWeek’s intention was to lump these three functions together in the same list.  While on the surface it seems to make sense, when you look deeper, it’s not a fair representation of advertising, marketing and media.  I suppose the intention is to make as big a bang as possible with the 30th anniversary edition of AdWeek in which the final “winners” will be featured.

I think there is a lesson for brand managers and executives to learn from this.  Don’t try to go too big or you’ll miss the boat.  Focus on a targeted output and consistently deliver on that image, message and promise.  You’ll never be able to be all things to all people.  If you try to be, you run the risk of seeming unbelievable or even arrogant.

Who do you think is the most influential person on the AdWeek poll of the most influential people in advertising, marketing and media?  Or would you choose someone who is not included in the poll at all?

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.