A few months in photos..#VivaKi

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Welcome to some photos of the last few months to liven up my blog. It has been a crazy few months but incredibly exciting and met some very cool and bright people that make life os interesting.

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The first sights of Cannes, the main event and the Publicis entrance..one was visited more than the other..

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Power ladies on one panel – Carolyn Everson of Facebook, Laura Desmond of SMG, Erin Clift of Spotify and Wendy of Coca Cola – not bad..

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The juxtaposition of the classy Seb Fontaine against the Gutter Bar, we did both very well, great night with Spotify.

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The Rubicon Panel at Le Rooftop, Cannes, the worlds leaders of Trade desks talking the talk. It was hot!

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The Eden Roc outside of Cannes, beautiful spot for an evening meal with a few old friends, colleagues and new friends

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Doubleclick Client Advisory Board in Los Angeles – St Regis. Amazing venue and more announcements from Google. I also had my five minutes in the spot light!

20130621-235908.jpg20130621-235852.jpgOne of the greatest runs for a hangover cure, down by Dana Point

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Google Zeitgeist – the amazing collection of people, politicians, genius types, robots and Jesse J – standard!

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Publicis Investor Day – the great and good of Publicis all at LBi

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CES – More to add here but suffice to say this was the hardest bit to get through

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My 2012. Perpetual motion.

Perpetual motion in more ways than one. Change is the only certainty in life and we certainly experienced it this year. Travel wise it was the year of going to the US, Palo Alto, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles. But let’s not forget the best that Europe has to offer with Madrid, Moscow, Milan, Cannes and Monte Carlo, Paris x 10, Amsterdam, Prague and on it goes. It is something I love to do and simply the best way of getting to know the network but can also take its toll.

I got a new boss this year and said goodbye to my first VivaKi boss in the form of Curt Hecht who left to join The Weather Channel. Curt was an entirely new kind of leader to those I have had in the past. He inspired me to look at our media world differently, he was himself in perpetual motion and seemed to never run out of energy for this business of ours. He pushed me, supported me and at times put a few European noses out of joint on his visits, importantly he taught me that travel, events, meeting bright people is worth something, it makes you more worldly, and helps you form a different view to those who listen to only those around them. Curt will and I know already is doing a great job. Enter stage left Kurt Unkel. Old Curt, new Kurt as they were for many months!

Thanks in part to all this change I was invited to Paris, Publicis Groupe HQ to meet Maurice Levy for a brief one to one. It was the very pinnacle of my career, if you would have told me as a TV buyer in 96 that I would get to meet Maurice I would have laughed – in fact I would probably have not known who he was! It’s funny how some of my external colleagues in the likes of Google meet him all the time (relatively) and yet it is so hard as a part of his organisation, but anyway, it was a privilege.

New Kurt as my boss can’t receive too many positive comments here for fear of brown nosing abuse, but suffice to say that he is a good guy, smart and looking forward to working with him in 2013. It’s been a crazy work year so much growth and development, part of a team of people now overseeing the new VivaKi proposition I am expecting no let up in 2013. But 2012 has seen us grow to 11 markets live with Audience On Demand in EMEA, the latest being Russia in December. We have worked tirelessly to create this EMEA wide expertise so that our advertisers can have a genuine centre of excellence wherever they are, it has been down to a lot of hard work from the VNC leaders across Europe – particularly Bea, Lothar, JB, Sara, Danny, Geoff as well as Becky for getting me around!

I reduced the sitting on Exchangewire panels of 2011 in 2012 and did some interesting and varied panels and presentations. I presented a digital overview at the IAA earlier in the year. A session at the FT around B2B comms and the future developments. A fantastic panel at Monaco Media Forum with Brian from Digiday – you can see that here. and have actually written more solid content for media publications. My first one of those was a sum up of CES and the impact of connected TVs..it’s long but if you want it – click here.

As usual I got into the odd scrape, although a lot less. My blog on the Dataxu purchase of Mexad called ‘Mathmen just turned back into Madmen’ went down well with some and less well with others. Siding with the Google view of ‘a frictionless Web‘ also brought a few a google haters out but as we showed in December with the World first search retargeting campaign, it was a great development.

Google Zeitgeist, Client Advisory Board in California, Monaco Media Forum, Cannes, CES – all great locations and events and yes you can and do have a lot of fun but at the same time, I have learned so much from so many bright people through these events, it is a very fortunate and a not to be taken for granted opportunity. The pace of change right now is break neck and these events help us stay in touch or at least try to.

Just as you think you are in a groove enter VivaKi 2.0. New structures, new propositions, all change again, but it is exciting and nerve racking at the same time, 2013 starts very quickly when we are back and I have a feeling won’t stop until that last working day of 2013. The team I work with and for is an incredible bunch, so bloody bright and enthusiastic. If anyone can create and steer change it is them and that gives you a lot of confidence. The guys I sit with right now in London have all worked their skins off and done a great job, it is these guys that make it happen and I look forward to a new year with them all.

Perpetual motion, managed by my awesome PA Becky has been mainly work focused but just to add a bit more into the mix we moved to Beaconsfield from Balham in May, another life change for us, one we have enjoyed thoroughly, not least it allowed me to buy that Yamaha T-Max 500 scooter I had been coveting! I grew up in the country and so I return (sort of). Sad to say one advantage is being near Heathrow!

The last icing on the cake came with being asked into Campaign A-list in December and judging Media Week Awards both for the first time (late developer!) but one question I was asked was ‘how have the last 12 months been for you?’ My answer was that they have been the best of my entire career. I am so pleased that after 16 years of work I have been given the opportunity to say that and I will be working doubly hard next year to make sure I can say it again this time next year.

Thanks to everyone in my team, to friends and colleagues and to all those companies we work with, I wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

It’s late. Good night and HNY.

All change at The VivaKi Nerve Center

The one consistent in life is change (I think there is a more eloquent phrase) but it is true and I am excited to be in the heart of that change. Curt has been a great leader but everyone moves on at some point and our team is really strong and we are excited about VNC 2.0. Below is the release that went out yesterday, exciting times all around.

CHICAGO,  4/12/12 – VivaKi CEO Jack Klues today announced that Kurt Unkel has been named President of the VivaKi Nerve Center. Unkel assumes responsibilities from Curt Hecht, who moves to a new role at The Weather Channel. Unkel will report into Frank Voris, global chief financial officer for VivaKi. Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategy and innovation officer of VivaKi, will serve as advisor to Unkel and the Nerve Center leadership.

Prior to assuming the role of president, Unkel had been EVP/general manager of Audience on Demand™ (AOD) – one of the Nerve Center’s fastest growing practices and largest revenue-drivers.  Today the practice services 350+ clients and manages over 15,000 daily campaigns across display, search, video, mobile and social.

Unkel has been a member of Publicis Groupe for more than a decade and among the Nerve Center’s first employees. Prior to joining the Nerve Center, Unkel created and led digital strategy, investment, analytics and ad operations teams across Publicis Groupe, with a special focus on General Motors (GM). Unkel resides in Detroit and will be based there.

“Curt Hecht has built a strong foundation for the VivaKi Nerve Center, and Kurt Unkel is just the right person to drive our vision forward,’ said Klues. “Kurt has shown great leadership in building and developing AOD from one of the first agency-led ad trading platforms with two clients and three employees to a world-class practice that has been replicated in markets all over the world, and leads the competition.”

“The Nerve Center is comprised of some of the sharpest minds in digital and tech,” said Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy. “With Kurt at the helm, we look forward to more aggressively pursuing new opportunities in arenas such as data, mobile, social and technology.”

Unkel and the Nerve Center are supported by a seasoned leadership team, including Doug Kofoid, who is EVP of product development. Kofoid is an operations expert and co-author of several Nerve Center products, including AOD Social.  The Nerve Center will leverage his expertise more broadly across the globe in the coming months.

Sean Kegelman has been named EVP of partnerships, and will continue to lead global partnerships and create new opportunities with companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook and others for the Nerve Center and the VivaKi agencies it supports.

Marco Bertozzi has been elevated to executive managing director of Nerve Center EMEA, focusing on continued expansion of the Nerve Center throughout the region.  Co-founder of The Pool, Tracey Scheppach will continue to explore engagement models of the future while serving as EVP/innovations director for VivaKi.

The Nerve Center leadership team also includes Pradeep Ananthapadmanabhan, who continues to serve as chief technology officer for the Nerve Center and Project Olympic; Ken Wiesman, who leads Finance and Barb Jobs, who continues to lead Talent.

The Nerve Center was formed in 2008 to provide tools, technology and offerings that give VivaKi agencies and their clients an edge when it comes to digital media and marketing solutions. The Nerve Center currently employees more than 250 employees worldwide, with a presence in  Australia, China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.