Next Media Star: Danny Shenkman

This year marks strategy's third annual search for Canada's best next-gen media minds. First, we invited media directors to nominate juniors who were breaking new ground in strategy or tactics. The nominees behind the most impressive plans were profiled in the June and July issues of strategy, and media company execs were then asked to vote on the top new talent.

This year’s winner, Danny Shenkman, has made a name for himself in media with ZO’s online media arm, Zed digital, making it a three-peat for Zenith and Team Boot.

Shenkman won on the strength of his one-day takeover of the AOL Canada homepage for Fox Home Entertainment to promote the DVD release of The Simpsons Movie in December. The first such customization at AOL Canada, the main page was ‘Simpsonized’ from top to bottom. Even the AOL logo was transformed from blue to black, and the ‘O’ replaced with Homer’s favourite food, a donut. The page was washed in the familiar yellow background and the floating ad, banners and custom boxes all went with the theme, as did the Top Searches – with Homer Simpson at number one and Itchy & Scratchy at number 10. Links throughout AOL drove users to simpsonsmovie.com.

‘By all means there’s a boldness and a confidence there,’ says Zenith CEO Sunni Boot, who first appreciated Shenkman’s fresh eye when he tackled new business pitching as a new employee. ‘Digital takes people who can self-start because it’s groundbreaking all the time, especially two or three years ago. He took that on and was a fast learner, and curious.’

Shenkman graduated in 2004 from the University of Western Ontario with a media studies degree, and his CV includes working for a congressman in Washington and roles with several Brunico Communications brands, including Media in Canada, prior to joining ZO in 2006. [Editor's note: we didn't vote.]

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Intro

Media Director of the Year – Bruce Neve

Gold – Starcom MediaVest

Silver – Mediaedge:cia

Bronze – PHD

Honourable Mention – MediaCom

Judges

Visit the Media AOY 2008 site