January 01, 2019
An Interview with Melissa Keller, Executive Vice President, National Media
Melissa Keller assumed her current post in May 2016. Prior to this, she was Executive Vice President-Channel Investments for Havas Media from July 2007.
With 35 years of experience, Active International (activeinternational.com) is a global financial solutions company that drives performance and improves business outcomes for leading brands. A data-driven company, with media as a core competency, Active operates a full-service omnichannel media agency. In addition to media, Active brings to bear a broad portfolio of competencies such as Asset Disposition/Merchandise Sales, Real Estate, Retail Marketing, Travel and Hospitality, Freight & Logistics, and Lighting. Through the application of its core business model, Active is able to create financial benefits to serve its clients. Active International is based in New York and has offices in 15 countries.
You spent much of your career on the agency side of the media business. What excited you about joining Active and has it been what you expected?
Active International takes a very different approach from an agency – however, the goal of delivering value to clients and being a good media vendor partner is the same. What excited me about joining Active was their ability to create leverage on both sides: media vendors and media clients. Active’s ability to marry the two sides in a successful model has been around for more than 30 years. When every major agency holding company now has a trading arm, you know the model works.
What surprised me was the dizzying array of all we offer and our ability to create leverage for quality media through everything from securing hotel rooms, in store retail pop-ups, helicopters, jets, building leases, entertainment boxes at arenas, buying unsold inventory, to furniture for new office space. Active can help companies with access to anything in exchange for access to quality inventory or the ability to place your media schedule in quality media.
How is Active adapting to the evolving media landscape?
Active is very astute at noticing trends in the marketplace and evolving with them. Our tool kit of offerings is ever expanding to serve our clients and deliver value through leverage.
Because of the unique space we occupy with a well-rounded client roster matched against an impressive list of media vendors, we are able to see where emerging areas are taking shape and gaining traction early. This unique position allows us to get in early and create leverage and remain relevant to our clients on both the advertiser and vendor partner sides.
Will you provide an overview of Active’s media capabilities?
From a trading perspective, Active International offers the broadest range of capabilities in the marketplace from traditional linear TV, to audio, local, OOH, print, DR, and unwired to media disciplines under the wide umbrellas of digital and advanced TV.
How broad is Active’s client base in media and where do you see the greatest opportunities for growth?
We have a robust cross section of clients including those from QSR, CPG, travel, lawn and garden, retail, auto care, etc. – we cover a pretty expansive number of categories.
From a growth in offerings perspective – I’m still a TV girl at heart and believe in the power of immediate reach and the brand building capabilities live TV delivers. What’s interesting is watching brands that were started in the digital only space realize that in order to take their business to the next level they need to invest in brand awareness tactics. We all know that TV struggles with measurement, but not with content. Measurement is not getting remedied fast enough for the marketplace, but we can’t let the pursuit of perfection hold up smart work for our clients. While we are already working in audience-based buying, addressable, OTT and VOD, a much greater emphasis will be placed there.
From an advertising client perspective, I don’t really see any category that is off limits based on our model – if you have a need, we can help you.