Adweek has rolled out its inaugural Power List, ranking the 100 most influential, innovative and effective leaders controlling media, marketing and technology.
The publication considered the profiles and results of corporate titans, taking into account such criteria as the value of company assets, revenue and revenue growth, consumer reach and affinity, market performance, standing among rivals, number of employees, key acquisitions and partnerships, industry accolades and media buzz. Agency chieftains, tech titans, media execs and the CEOs of top brand marketers populate the list – and here’s the Top 10:
» 1. Larry Page, CEO, co-founder, Google
Page opened a new window into the Information Age 17 years ago when he and Sergey Brin formed Google, revolutionizing the way practically every human being accesses information. Of course, Google has grown far beyond search. It is one of the most powerful corporations on the planet – and Page, 42, is the principal architect of that success.
Google’s ubiquity is astonishing. From Android to Chromebooks, from AdWords to Maps and so much more, there’s virtually no corner of technology, media and advertising in which Google is not a player.
» 2. Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
Cook, 54, followed the legendary Steve Jobs – and he’s well on his way to becoming as big a legend. In nearly four years at the helm, Apple doubled its market capitalization, becoming the first U.S. company to hit $700 billion. Its financials routinely set records, including Q1 earnings of $18 billion, the most for any company in a single quarter ever – fueled by the latest iPhone versions and Apple Watch. Clearly, Cook has built on Jobs’ facility to fuel broad cultural trends.
» 3. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, chairman, co-founder, Facebook
Zuckerberg, 31, changed the way the planet stays connected, informed and entertained – and despite cries it is losing influence among millennials, Facebook shows no sign of losing muscle. Its market cap hovers around $220 billion– more than double its value at the time of its IPO three years ago. Zuckerberg’s focus on mobile advertising could further turbo-charge growth, while Instant Articles may well herald a sea change in digital content. Eleven years after Facebook’s launch, the company remains the embodiment of instantaneous communication and sharing on a global scale, making the world a much less lonely place for a billion of us.
» 4. Robert Iger, CEO, chairman, The Walt Disney Co. (includes ABC, ESPN, Disney theme parks)
The force is with Iger, 64, who is credited with revitalizing and expanding Disney’s empire in his decade at the helm through a mix of people skills (he can mend fences), strategic genius (aggressive, diversified merchandising to enhance films’ profitability) and savvy acquisitions including Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Under Iger, Disney’s market cap has more than doubled to $185 billion — making it no surprise that the company extended his contract through 2018.
» 5. A.G. Lafley, CEO, president, chairman, Procter & Gamble
Lafley, 67, is an innovative thinker and creative marketer who gives brands at the world’s largest advertiser leeway to forge sharper images while staying true to the middle-American ethos the company’s come to represent. Currently, he has cost cutting on his mind, and plans to divest numerous brands in order to focus on big sellers like Tide, Crest, Gillette and Always (whose “Like a Girl” campaign last year swept social media and the industry, winning the PR Grand Clio Award) while simultaneously trimming marketing costs (U.S. media chores just went into review).
» 6. Rupert Murdoch, CEO, chairman, 21st Century Fox; executive chairman, News Corp.
After six decades in the business, this old-school media titan is not just a legend but also still very much a maverick. Even with his company’s already considerable influence on the business (Michael Wolff’s biography of Murdoch was titled The Man Who Owns the News), Murdoch, 84, remains intent on growing his empire, even though last year’s $80 billion bid for Time Warner fizzled.
Twenty-first Century Fox includes Fox film studio and television network, Star TV and Sky. News Corp. includes Dow Jones, the New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal.
» 7. Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP Group
Despite an 8 percent Q1 revenue spike, Sorrell warned of a “demanding year” ahead for adland’s largest holding company, with no Olympics or World Cup to fuel growth across its properties, which include Grey, JWT, Ogilvy & Mather and Y&R. The outspoken Sorrell, 70, tweaked rivals Omnicom and Publicis when their proposed merger collapsed – and he’s established himself as a particularly droll and perceptive pundit on matters of marketing and media. When Sorrell speaks, we all listen.
» 8. Brian Roberts, CEO, chairman, Comcast (includes NBCUniversal, Universal Studios, MSNBC, Telemundo)
Roberts, 55, invested a hefty $336 million on a failed attempt to add Time Warner Cable to the Comcast fold, a quest he finally abandoned in April owing to government opposition. On the plus side, he’s strengthened operations at both the NBC television network (the broadcast leader among adults 18-49) and its cable operations, while the company’s just-wrapped upfront presentations were a huge hit — with 168 of the planet’s biggest stars (Dolly Parton! The Kardashians!) making the trek to New York to woo advertisers. In fact, NBCU contributed $25.4 billion in revenue last year to the Comcast bottom line, a 7.5 percent year-over-year gain.
» 9. Indra Nooyi, CEO, chairman, PepsiCo
She shoots – she scores! PepsiCo recently unseated the Coca-Cola Co. as the official food and beverage partner of the NBA. That gives Nooyi, 59, control of beverage rights across all four major U.S. pro leagues, reflecting her desire to “redefine the meaning of sports marketing partnerships.” Pepsi also sponsors the Super Bowl halftime show — and the NBA play should resonate with millennial consumers as the company leverages the relationship across Doritos, Ruffles and Mountain Dew. Meanwhile, Gatorade was selected to receive the Clio Sports Grand Icon Award this year.
» 10. Jeff Bezos, CEO, chairman, president, founder, Amazon.com
Running the mightiest American e-commerce company, Bezos, 51, sits at the intersection of content, commerce and technology, with Amazon playing an outsized role in shaping tastes and defining popular culture. Bezos’ ambitions are sky-high – literally – as he proposes Amazon deliveries from drones, an idea that’s being scrutinized by federal regulators. His more terrestrial interests had him buying The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million, with old media hands speculating (praying?) that other icons of print media may find their ultimate savior in billionaire white knights.
Red Mic | FIFA gets red card, black eye for corruption
The world’s most popular sport was plunged into turmoil last week as seven senior soccer officials were arrested on U.S. corruption charges and faced extradition from Switzerland, whose authorities also announced a criminal investigation into the awarding of the next two World Cups.
The arrests mark an unprecedented blow against soccer’s governing body FIFA, which for years has been dogged by allegations of corruption but always escaped major criminal cases. This certainly deflates the image and reputation for the most popular sport in the land, and for that, FIFA gets a Red Card Mic!
Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!
Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him @spinsurgeon.