Jonathan Zimmerman

Among the many innovations to be found at this year’s ad:tech New York, one of the most exciting ones happens to be a ball of energy in the shape of a woman. Amber J. Lawson, to be specific. While Amber is certainly an innovator—bridging digital media, technology, entertainment, comedy, philanthropy and marketing in her many roles and pursuits—it is also accurate to say that she, herself, is an innovation.

“I sit in the middle, between brands, technology and distribution. My job is to build out story worlds.”

As a partner in The Opportunity Management Company, she describes herself primarily as a consultant. But consultant doesn’t really describe the level of creative coordination she exercises.

“As a high level strategist for multiplatform storytelling, I am an interpreter. I speak brand, I speak story and I speak technology. I capitalize on the opportunity that brands have to leverage all platforms to tell emotionally rich, compelling stories for their audiences. ”

Clearly, Amber’s role is a relatively new and unique one, which is what makes her an innovation. After years leading AOL as VP/Head of Video Programming & Originals, with countless awards and accolades from her peers, she has moved into her more independent consulting role with gusto. In addition to her OMC projects, she founded the massively successful social enterprise Transforming the World Through Comedy, which engages audiences with live streaming stand-up shows and serves as the Chairman of the IAWTV Awards at CES, just to name a few projects.

However, if Amber’s predictions for the future are borne out, her role won’t be so unique for long. As the world rapidly changes, brands will play an ever larger role in disseminating stories and entertainment.

“We, as human beings, associate ourselves with brands. The future will be funded by brands and technology—and the creative job will be to figure out how to work with them. Period.”

As one example of how fruitful this partnership can be, she pointed to the Cybergedden campaign for Norton, which she consulted on. In the highly filmic 10 episode arc of the web series, the Norton brand is used prominently, but organically; a core character exhibiting the brand’s essence—stopping cyber crime from occurring—instead of a shorter, but more artificial, product placement.

For storytellers and creatives of all stripes, Amber exudes excitement and optimism. “There are so many platforms, so many funders—we are in an absolute renaissance. There is no barrier for entry anymore.”

It will be fascinating to see how innovators like Amber capitalize on these trends and continue to shape the new reality for storytellers and audiences alike.

This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest digital marketing and technology conferences and expositions. Check out for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech New York event coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.