Week 1: A Conversation with Guest Speaker Matt Meeks of Initiative

By UCLA X425 Student Samantha Hernandez

Samantha Hernandez

Samantha Hernandez

Our Week 1 guest speaker was Matt Meeks, Vice President/Director of Prophesee for Initiative, a global media-planning agency. Matt began our conversation by introducing himself and providing his career background. A few highlights include studying public relations in college, working in marketing for several years before starting his own agency in 2007, and a stint with Warner Bros. Entertainment Group just prior to his current job. After introducing himself and his background, Matt spoke to us about a variety of topics.

The first topic we covered was the monetization of Facebook. Matt revealed that he has a lot of experience with Facebook and the social network’s successful efforts to profit from companies that want to reach consumers on its website. For example, Facebook now has sponsored stories, which are advertisements inserted into people’s news feeds. Matt revealed that Facebook has an algorithm that controls what users see, in order to give us “the best experience.” However, Facebook is more likely to show information from brands that pay for advertising. In other words, the brands that pay more are more likely to show up in users’ news feeds.

Next, Matt discussed his involvement with a couple of marketing campaigns. He first spoke about the work he did with Kia, which took place during the NBA All-Star game in 2011. During the slam dunk contest, Blake Griffin dunked over a Kia. Matt explained how the promotional event was a highly planned collaboration with a variety of contributors — celebrities, athletes, and TNT. Second, Matt discussed working with soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo during the 2010 world cup and his social media success. The campaign started with shooting a simple short video of Cristiano greeting his fans. Then, the video was distributed to various media outlets. Matt shared how his agency at the time collaborated with Sports Nation, Perez Hilton, Binder, and even Chad Ochocino on Twitter, and how it all led to Cristiano’s popularity and success on social media. Cristiano currently has 56 million Facebook likes.

At the conclusion of our conversation with Matt, he revealed whom he believes owns social media, and not surprisingly his answer was “Everyone owns social media—the PR team, customer service/response, the entire company.” His belief that everyone owns social media was evident throughout his talk because in both campaigns he shared with us—Kia and Cristiano Ronaldo—Matt stressed they were successful because they were highly planned and involved collaborations with various parties.

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