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Paul Woolmington

Paul Woolmington

Marketing and Technology


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Trendsetters: Canvas' Paul Woolmington Asserts that the Magical Will Always Outshine the Logical.

Paul Woolmington has never been shy about taking a stand—even if it runs counter to current thinking.  Named an Internationalist Innovator as Co-Founder of Naked Communications Americas, he now serves as CEO of Canvas Worldwide, the joint venture between Horizon Media and Innocean Worldwide.  He often explains the Canvas mantra by describing the agency's work as a blank slate to re-invent media and communications solutions to meet today's brand challenges.

At a time when marketing is becoming more tech-enabled, data-driven and scalable through artificial intelligence, Paul Woolmington reminds us that today's complex juggling act should not forget "the magical."

And for Woolmington, "the magical" can take many forms.  For the agency's client Hyundai, the team thought about how today's consumers interact with car dealerships in an on-demand world.  To serve both a younger generation and improve the customer experience, Canvas teamed up with Amazon to provide on-demand test drives to Prime subscribers—when they wanted it and how they wanted it.  According to Woolmington, "Service became a medium as part of the customer experience."

As a contemporary agency leader who embraces innovation, he believes that all marketing and agency assignments must be anchored by the customer journey— which is unique for every brand and every business category.  He also believes that Millennials want to be emotionally connected to brands: "Some 71% of the millennial generation are looking for brands to inspire them.  This is a different expectation, and it's setting up a different way a brand can communicate," he says.    

With nearly three decades of agency leadership, Paul Woolmington has seen how the digital and technology revolutions have shifted business direction.  The historical brand-driven marketing model has reversed to a consumer-driven one where most marketing touchpoints in any purchase journey are now entirely determined by the consumer.  Not only does this fracture the journey, but Woolmington believes that any conduit that brings media, entertainment, information, social communications and messaging together should be aligned through a "trinity" of Content, Context and Contact.  And while it sounds simple, he admits that it's not easy to achieve. Nonetheless, Woolmington firmly believes that the industry has a huge opportunity to be more relevant, compelling and useful to consumers than at any time in its history.

Woolmington often asks, "How do we embrace more scientists and an engineering mindset into a ‘gut' or ‘faith'- driven discipline?"  He sees the answer as creating differentiation that is magical, while still embracing the logical.  However, he asserts that the magical will always outshine the logical when connecting with consumers.

Paul Woolmington has been CEO of Canvas Worldwide since January 2016. Canvas Worldwide ( is dual-headquartered in New York City and Los Angeles, with additional offices in Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta. Under his leadership, Canvas has added nearly three hundred employees to its ranks since opening its doors, making it one of the fastest growing agencies in the business today. Canvas recently won a gold in the 10th annual Internationalist Awards for Innovation in Media for its work on the Luxury Transformed: Kia Cadenza's Third Place campaign.

Canvas Worldwide reflects a unique heritage: the entrepreneurial spirit of a startup; media and communications capabilities that match those of any large holding company; and a team of industry stars determined to shake up the world of marketing and media. This fresh, strategic approach to media marketing services has produced an environment in which it's possible to fearlessly try the unusual. This central tenet is embodied by Canvas's rallying cry: Make Yourself Uncomfortable.