MT Carney

MT Carney was most recently President of Marketing for Walt Disney Studios Worldwide. She is the Co-Founder of Naked Communications and of the British nail salon chain Nails Inc...


MT CARNEY was most recently President of Marketing for Walt Disney Studios Worldwide. She was responsible for a complete overhaul of the studios marketing organization creating a more efficient and streamlined process that produced exciting, integrated, targeted and cost efficient campaigns.

Some of the movies she and her team worked on include, Toy Story 3, Tangled, The Muppets, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Gnomeo and Juliet, Cars 2, The Help, War Horse, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and the Avengers.

Prior to Disney, MT Co founded Naked Communications and with her partners and team created a wave of change across the marketing community. Highly prized for intelligent strategic solutions, Naked prides itself on the collaborative and inclusive techniques that make great ideas really stick, take hold and work in practice.

She was responsible for work on clients as varied as Amazon, Best Buy, American Express, Coca Cola, Kimberly Clark and NBC Universal.

Her reputation is in unconventional yet pragmatic solutions that have created real business value.

She has extensive experience in creating and running large teams of creative people, creating shared goals and ways of working within groups who historically had only ever been competitive or confrontational.

Industry awards include - Advertising Age Media Maven, AAAA Woman to Watch, Women to Watch in Campaign, D&Ad pencils, 12 Media Week awards, 8 Campaign planning awards, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising Outstanding Achievement award among others.

MT works closely with a number of companies as a strategic advisor on business and marketing practice, these range from Disney to Eventbrite.

Prior to moving to the US, she cofounded nails inc, the leading producer of nail products and services in the UK.

Her previous positions include Worldwide Planning Director at Ogilvy and Mather and Chef Strategy Officer at Universal McCann.

Article Archive
Publication: The Hollywood Reporter
THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100
MT Carney - President of Marketing, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

After taking a bit of a beating in the media last year for the poor performance of The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Prince of Persia, Carney had a better go of it in 2011 thanks to the billion-dollar success of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Cars 2, The Help and The Lion King 3D. Now a year and a half into her job, Carney says, "It's starting to feel at home. It takes a bit of time when you transition into something new to make it work in the way you want it to."

And she is quick to point out that just because it's the fourth Pirates movie and Cars has a 2 after it, in this day and age there are no guarantees. "Yes, we have a fabulous name, but we have people out there who feel like they can't see a fourth movie if they didn't see the first three," Carney says. "Or if they have seen the first three, they don't need to see the fourth. There are no movies that you can stick a name on and open."

Carney is a single mother of two who sees her two kids, 11 and 13, on weekends in New York, where her ex-husband looks after them during the week. It's a decidedly modern arrangement that has the two parents vacationing and spending holidays together for the benefit of the kids, whom Carney takes to museums and movies, introducing them to an eclectic slate ranging from The Omen to All About Eve. "My son would rather go to the skate park," she says. "But I feel my role as a mother is to force them to do things they don't want to do occasionally, and then buy them skateboards afterward."

Publication: Variety
MT Carney: From Madison Ave. to H'wood brass
Women's Impact Report 2011: MT Carney

When films fail at the box office, the marketing chief is usually the first to take the blame -- and to get the boot. So when Disney overhauled its exec ranks after a string of stumbles, MT Carney found herself in an unusual position last year: Not only was she under pressure to turnaround the studio's campaigns, she also had to sell herself to Hollywood.

Carney, after all, was new to the biz, a co-founder of Madison Avenue ad shop Naked Communications (whose clients included Coca-Cola, Kraft and Google), and part of Disney studio chief Rich Ross' efforts to "think outside the box" when it comes to promoting pics.

Although the Scotland-born Carney had never spearheaded a movie marketing campaign, she suddenly found herself with several high-profile tentpoles.

None were easy to launch, with "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" the fourth installment of the franchise, helmed by Rob Marshall, a director known more for musicals, and a cast that didn't feature series regulars Orlando Bloom or Keira Knightley. Film opened domestically to a somewhat disappointing $90 million, but sailed on to haul in an impressive $798.5 million overseas to cross the $1 billion mark.

"Cars 2," revved up nearly $548 million worldwide, despite tepid reviews. And "Tangled" surprised many when it was able to attract a broader audience to the female-skewing Rapunzel tale, which earned $591 million globally.

If Carney has a style it's evident in the singular hyper-realistic photographs, bold fonts and clean, pared-down designs she uses for the studio's marketing materials.

Her ideas can seem unconventional, using Pink's song "Trouble" to sell "Tangled," an animated musical, rather than songs from the film by Alan Menken ("The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast"). For "Pirates," she enlisted former Sony marketing chief Valerie Van Galder to consult on the campaign, which Carney admitted was due to her inexperience in launching a tentpole of such scale.

And when it comes to Disney's films, each must perform at the box office but also inside stores as merchandise and theme parks.

Title: President, marketing, Walt Disney Studios
Role model: "My grandmother. She was kind, brave, fiercely loyal and so wise."
Career mantra: "There's always a better way."
Leisure pursuits: "Spending time with my kids."
Philanthropic passion: Promoting creativity in the arts.

Disney Studios hires outsider M.T. Carney to head marketing
The co-founder of Naked Communications helped create strategies for brands including Coca-Cola and Microsoft.
April 22, 2010|By Dawn C. Chmielewski and Claudia Eller, Los Angeles Times

Walt Disney Studios chief Rich Ross said he intended to look beyond the usual suspects to find a new head of marketing for the Burbank movie studio.

He was good to his word.

On Wednesday, Disney confirmed that it had hired M.T. Carney, a fast-rising New York-based brand strategist who has no background in movie marketing but lots of new-media credentials, to lead the studio's worldwide marketing efforts.

Carney, a co-founder of communications planning firm Naked Communications, helped create global strategies for some of the world's biggest brands, among them Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Google, Microsoft and Nokia. Before helping launch Naked's New York office in 2006, Carney was worldwide planning director at Ogilvy & Mather, overseeing such accounts as American Express.

The question is whether she can apply lessons learned from helping promote sugary soft drinks and cellphones to selling celluloid. Unlike a can of Coke, each movie is unique.

Ross and Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger have made it clear that Disney, in its latest incarnation, is a steward for powerful Hollywood brands Disney, Marvel Entertainment and Pixar Animation Studios, whose movies can be exploited beyond the cinema into television shows, theme park attractions, video games, online virtual worlds and clothing lines.

Carney, a native of Scotland, prides herself on bringing a global view to brand management and possessing a deftness for harnessing new technologies such as social networks to promote products. Carney in fact chronicled her job interview process with Disney in her Twitter feed, beginning with her March 16 flight to Los Angeles and her observations on L.A. culture and Hollywood's excesses.

"In L.A., you are no one if you don't have 2 assistants minimum," she wrote. "If you were God and also Mars and liked art, this is what your office would be like, except yours would probably be smaller."

Hollywood has had very mixed results recruiting outsiders with no movie marketing experience or close relationships with influential directors and producers, who have strong input about how their movies are promoted and are steeped in time-honored traditions.

Ross and Iger have been shaking up the status quo, believing the "best ideas don't always come from the obvious place," according to an executive at the Burbank studio who was not authorized to talk on the record.

In an e-mail to his staff, Ross said, "the film business is changing before our very eyes, and we must all rise to the occasion to meet our consumers' changing needs."

After interviewing a series of rival studio and non-Hollywood candidates, Ross selected a candidate who is of like mind with regard to curbing marketing costs. A profile of Carney in the trade publication Advertising Age noted that Naked was known for "the notion that communications need not involve an ad buy."

Disney declined to make Carney available for an interview.

Publication: Ad Age
M.T. Carney Partner, Naked Communications
By: Matthew Creamer Published: September 18, 2006

The most unexpected result of Naked Communications' U.S. launch isn't the fact that the communications planning agency has racked up 11 clients in just eight months or that every traditional agency wants to know what they're all about. It's been the rise of M.T. Carney.

When the U.K. communications planning shop announced its New York lineup, Ms. Carney, a Scottish-born former account planner at Ogilvy & Mather, New York, was the lesser-known half of the pair tapped to bring its brand of communications planning to a country that hadn't really seen it before. Her partner, Paul Woolmington, is a well-known industry veteran of places like Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners' The Media Kitchen, Young & Rubicam and Mediaedge:cia. He's also a past Media Maven himself.

The agency will team with fellow hotshop Taxi to rebrand OLN, the cable network best known for broadcasting the NHL and Tour de France, as Versus. Naked has been working with Johnson & Johnson, though Ms. Carney declines to talk about the relationship. (J& J says the company doesn't comment on partners.) It also just picked up some global duties for Coca-Cola Co.'s Far Coast coffee launch.

"You don't get much exposure to business development when you're a brand planner," says Naked co-founder John Harlow. "She has a fierce intellect, and clients are just taking to her. "

Mr. Harlow says he's happy with the way the marketers are taking up the Naked model. The New York operation, he says, is expected to triple original projections. "They're exceeding all expectations."

Naked is premised on the notion that communications need not involve an ad buy. As such, it positions itself as neither a creative agency-Naked doesn't execute on the strategy it creates-nor as a media agency. As digital channels proliferate and commercial clutter accumulates, it's only natural that marketers would be taken with any counsel that can help them reach their targets-especially if that doesn't involve heavy outlays on traditional media.

"I thought I had a broad idea of what communication is, but every day it just seeps further and further out," says Ms. Carney.

* Has helped pick up blue-chip work from Coca-Cola, Nokia and Virgin Mobile

* Strategist, not creative or media shop

Publication: Adweek
MT Carney Arrives At UM in N.Y.
By Adweek Staff Published 2003

As someone who started her own business in the late 1990s, M.T. Carney, Universal McCann's new svp, channel account planner, is glad to be working at a company where someone else signs the checks.

"Being your own boss is a really, really great idea and a really difficult reality," said the Dunoon, Scotland, native, who co-founded nails inc., a British nail-salon chain, in 1999.

Carney, most recently a strategist at media-strategy shop Michaelides and Bednash in New York, will use account-planning tools to study how consumers relate to brands and the media at UM in New York. She becomes the media agency's sole account planner, and will work with media and account planners at Interpublic Group sister shop McCann-Erickson. She reports to Mark Stewart, UM's chief strategy officer.

"M.T. is a pure account planner," Stewart said. "Her job is to bring a different and complementary skill set [to our business]."

Carney, a 15-year industry veteran, studied French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris before finding a job in the media department of Ogilvy & Mather in London. That was followed by stints at London shops Leo Burnett and the former Ammirati Puris Lintas (where she spent six years as an account planner).

Her frequent trips to New York while at APL gave her the idea to open a nail-service chain, she said. But in August 2001, Carney and her two children followed her husband to New York, where he had been transferred.

In addition to spending time with her children, at the opera and shopping, Carney loves to travel. One place she hopes to visit is Savannah, Ga., where the weather would likely be milder than Gotham's cold, rainy spring. "I can't believe I had to move to New York to get Scottish weather," she said.

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MT Carney
MT Carney
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