LAS VEGAS – Contrary to what some might think, John Osborn didn’t leave the creative world behind when he decided to shift from heading up BBDO New York to running the media side at OMD U.S. He feels he’s gotten even closer to the real action.

“I don’t look at it as leaving anything behind,” says Osborn, who made the move last September. “I’m bringing all that I’ve learned from the creative part of the equation and I’m trying to apply that through a whole new aperture. Media is closer to the customer, the consumer, than anything else.”

In this interview with Beet.TV at CES 2018, Osborn talks about game-changing technology and advocates for cause marketing as a way to improve people’s lives and give marketers an “economic multiplier.”

When Osborne joined BBDO 25 years ago to work on the Pepsi account, the media side of the traditional full-service agency was considered “a bunch of numbers.” What’s changed is that “we have the data, we have the analytics that tell us who to go target and how they behave, which sets up the foundation of the entire strategy framework.”

Emerging technologies like augmented reality and robotics aren’t front and center on Osborne’s radar screen. At least not yet. Voice-activated devices, the connected home and artificial intelligence seem to have more near-term potential.

“AI is really, really powerful,” says Osborne. “It’s a game changer. Because if it can make our customers’ lives easier, more fluid, more relevant to how they want to live their life, then that’s really, really of high value.”

At CES, OMD is joined by more than 100 clients. Some are obvious—Apple and Intel—others less so, including Clorox, Cigna and State Farm. Osborn says they’re all seeking to apply innovation and invention to their business models to be smarter and more relevant to customers.

“We want to peak their imagination and really push them to think about things from a whole different standpoint.”

Osborn is a supporter of the Red Cross and other philanthropic organizations, so he appreciates the value of cause marketing, calling it an “economic multiplier.” Finding the right cause to align with varies from brand to brand.

“But I will tell you this. Usually it’s much more powerful if the people that work within the company share in the delivery of that sense of purpose as well as the messaging part of it as well.”

This video was produced by Beet.TV in Las Vegas at CES 2018. Please visit this page for more coverage.