Ocean Waves: Meet Marcela Wilfong


Ocean Waves is your behind-the-scenes look at the people who make Ocean Media a leading independent media planning and buying agency. We chat with the employees who make our agency so great, ask them a number of questions and then share their answers with the world. Today we are spotlighting Marcela Wilfong, Ocean Media’s Director of Research.  


Name: Marcela Wilfong
Position: Director, Research

In a nutshell, my job at Ocean Media is to:

I oversee the Media Research department. It’s our responsibility to support the other departments here at Ocean Media, to provide them with reports, insights, and analyses to help them make good decisions for our clients.

The clients I work with are:

For the most part I work with Ancestry, but at the end of the day they’re all my clients. As a manager, I think it’s important to keep my hands in the day to day operations. If you do only the top-level stuff and pass everything else off, you forget the details. I want to remember the things that can get old, and I want to remember what it feels like to be in my team’s shoes. It helps with my managing style; it’s good to know how your employees feel. I would never ask anyone to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself.

What sets Ocean Media apart from other media buying agencies?

I haven’t worked at other agencies, but everything I’ve heard is essentially powered by the fact that we’re small, we’re smart and we approach things as if each client’s dollars are our own. We give 100% while we’re here, and at the end of the day we go home. We’re invested and passionate in the office, and because we’re not burned out by it, we love what we do and we’re creative in how we do it.

What’s your favorite thing about Ocean Media?

I love that we’re a family. When I found out that I was expecting both of my children, I told Ron (Luebbert) first because he’s my direct supervisor, then I told Mike (Robertson). At any other place, they might be happy for you or it may even be a bit superficial—but Mike gave me a huge hug and had tears in his eyes. I think people here genuinely care about other people’s lives and what’s going on with them.

When it comes to working in media, what skills would help someone go far in the industry?

I think it’s true in any industry, but in our industry (which many perceive as being glamorous) you need to have integrity. Integrity means to me that heart and head are aligned, therefore it translates into your actions being aligned. What you believe in your heart creates a certain way of thinking and it should drive your actions. It means that you don’t necessarily have to be a “yes” person, but that you should step up and say what may end up being the unpopular thing—but you say it because it’s the right thing. We’re not a creative agency, but clients ask us about creative all the time. It’s easy to go with the flow and not step up because you’re afraid of repercussions, but it’s extremely important to be open, honest and direct.

If I wasn’t working here at Ocean Media, you’d most likely find me:

If I wasn’t working here, I’d probably be a therapist or life coach. I tend to be that person that people tell their things to, just like in that movie “Airplane” when the guy is spilling his guts to a little old lady. Well, I’m her.

The movie that I’ll watch over and over again if it’s on TV is:

There are two of them: “The Day After Tomorrow,” and “So I Married an Axe Murderer.” I don’t know why I like movies about the end of the world, but I do. As for “So I Married an Axe Murderer,” it doesn’t matter what point the movie is at—if it’s on, I’m watching it. Best Mike Myers movie ever made.

My favorite song/artist:

“Walking on Sunshine” is my number one song. It’s the best example of how I feel every day when I wake up. If I could put it on my alarm clock and not be killed by my husband, I’d do it. He says I’m like Snow White in the morning with bunnies hopping all around, deer, birds carrying my robe—it’s just the way I feel when I wake up. My son is that way, too; my daughter, not so much.

My nicknames are:

“M”—just the letter. Not “Em,” simply “M.” I was born in Chile, and “Marcela” there is the equivalent of “Jennifer” in the US, although mine was a popular name here around the turn of last century. These days, my name is fairly unusual. I’ve been called Melissa, Marissa, Michelle, Marisol—all different iterations of Marcela. It finally got to the point where if someone called me the wrong name, I was completely fine with it—so long as it was with an M.