Drew Doherty

Product Manager, Microwave Ovens & Home Appliances,Sharp Electronics of Canada, Mississauga, Ont.Drew Doherty began his career in marketing in June 1987, when, upon completion of a four-year Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Toronto, he joined Toronto ad agency...

Product Manager, Microwave Ovens & Home Appliances,

Sharp Electronics of Canada, Mississauga, Ont.

Drew Doherty began his career in marketing in June 1987, when, upon completion of a four-year Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Toronto, he joined Toronto ad agency dmb&b as a media assistant.

In November of the same year, Doherty accepted a position with Toronto’s Foster Advertising as a junior media buyer/planner.

His responsibilities at Foster centred on the General Motors account, for which he assisted in the design of, and subsequently executed, media plans for brand advertising. He also designed and executed media plans for the gm Atlantic Dealers Association.

Mattel Canada hired Doherty in 1988 to work as an assistant product manager on one of its key accounts, Nintendo.

In 1990, he was promoted to the position of Nintendo product manager.

During four years spent working on Nintendo for Toronto-based Mattel, Doherty was involved in a wide range of marketing activities, including the development of promotions, cross-promotions, trade ads and consumer ads.

In March of this year, Doherty accepted his current position as product manager on microwave ovens and home appliances for Sharp Electronics of Canada.

- Developed and managed the ‘Nintendo Challenge Tour,’ Canada’s first coast-to-coast video game contest.

- Designed and managed ‘Nintendo Collect for Cash.’

We asked:

Q. Are you a believer in marketing by science or intuition?

A. ‘Marketing is inherently a combination of both. It’s an imperfect science where strategic decisions are made based on the marketing fundamentals, in combination with one’s knowledge of the industry. The ability to make good gut-feel decisions is what separates good marketers from great marketers.’

Q. Was there a significant turning point in your career?

A. ‘Moving to the Nintendo brand at Mattel as assistant product manager – nothing is quite as exciting as working on a business where growth is the only constant.’

Q. Who or what influenced you the most in your marketing career?

A. ‘My father – not a marketer by trade – has shown me the value of hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm for one’s work. As I was beginning my career, he was close to retirement – yet he was still working 12-hour days and loving what he did. He exemplified the work ethic.’

Q. What is your favorite marketing campaign (not including campaigns with which you have been involved)?

A. ‘I think Nike did a great job with its original `Just Do It’ campaign. It’s advertising with an attitude and a clear-cut positioning. They related product to the average person and made Nike cool without any celebrity hype.’

Q. What is your favorite ad (not including ads with which you have been involved)?

A. ‘Nissan ran an ad about a year ago in the u.s. for the 240 model. The ad featured an overhead shot of the car driving down a twisty road. Using the bottom quarter of each page, the ad ran over several pages. I thought the impact of the creative was incredible, and clearly positioned the product versus its competitors.’

Q. What do you do in your spare time?

A. ‘With my recent move to Sharp, I’m rediscovering my love for audio/video products. I love music, and spend considerable time – in and out of my home – listening to it. Sports – golf, tennis, hockey – also occupy a lot of my time.’

Q. What is the most recent book you’ve read?

A. ‘How to Enjoy Wine, by Hugh Johnson.’

Q. What book influenced you the most?

A. ‘Future Shock, by Alvin Toffler.’

What do you love most about the marketing business?

‘Marketing is an evolving, dynamic discipline. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning.’

Creative/strategic sense

‘Drew is more of a by-the-book, analytical marketer than a divine inspiration marketer.’

‘He was a video-game player and really loved it. He could identify with what the players were getting out of the game, and he could carry that through on the marketing and advertising.’

‘He is a very dedicated, thorough worker. Anything he does, he knuckles down and figures out all the details.’

‘Drew was very analytical, but not from a research base. It was from good, old-fashioned observation.’

‘He was very good at getting companies involved in cross-promotions for Nintendo. That would get free advertising for the product. From an impressions standpoint, it got Nintendo a lot of mileage for a low cost.’

‘Drew was his own marketer. He would try to come up with a new and innovative program.’

Management skills

‘Drew always came to us with a very real problem that had to be addressed. He would probe us and push us to come up with the solutions.’

‘He seems to have the ability to not lose his cool, to maintain his rationale, rather than getting lost in the details.’

Competitive instincts

‘He gets right into the brand, right into the thing. He makes himself an expert. When he’s assigned a brand, it becomes his brand. So much so, he’ll tell you there’s no better brand, and he’ll mean it.’

‘Drew was more aware than any of the senior people at Mattel of the competition coming into his segment.’

‘There is a youthful exuberance and enthusiasm to him, but he also lives and breathes the business.’

Next issue: Richard Clark, marketing manager, Beamscope Electronic Entertainment of Toronto.