By Ralph Llera
If you ask Jason Haikara what the highlight of his career is so far, you may not be surprised to hear that it is his work with the megahit TV series 24.
Haikara was senior vice president of marketing and Internet promotions in 2001, and his role was to develop and manage innovative, cross-platform promotions and initiatives for FOX series and theatrical movies – which included a 24 talk show on Fox.com and actor Kiefer Sutherland’s appearance on FOX NFL Sunday.
24 is not the only major project on Haikara’s résumé. He also worked on the launch of The Simpsons as manager of affiliate promotions. In 1989, Haikara was part of the team that created the launch kit with promotional ideas for the series, developed the costume rental program and oversaw communications with local FOX affiliates.
The education of Jason Haikara, now senior vice president at MediaLink, a strategic advisory and business development firm, began early.
“I've always had a passion for entertainment,” said Haikara, a 1982 graduate of the School Communication. “My parents and grandparents exposed me and my siblings to all facets of the arts during our childhood.”
During his senior year, in 1981-82, Haikara was named editor-in-chief of The Miami Hurricane, where he managed a large staff of writers and editors. During his years as a Hurricane reporter, he covered hard news stories such as the Carter-Reagan campaign, but he also met stars in the entertainment industry.
“I had the pleasure of interviewing Goldie Hawn, Sally Field and other celebrities,” Haikara said.
After graduation, Haikara moved to Boston and worked for Toyota in the marketing department for six years.
In 1989, Haikara was hired by FOX Broadcasting Company, where he held several positions over the course of 18 years, including associate director of national media and director of on-air promotion strategy.
Even though digital marketing is his area of expertise today, Haikara did not start to develop his digital skills until he worked on 24 and on the campaigns for Dark Angel, American Idol and The OC, which FOX launched in 2000, 2002, and 2003 respectively.
These shows’ marketing campaigns featured emerging digital platforms, as FOX was among the first, if not the first, TV network to use social media platforms as premium marketing tools, Haikara said.
Pam Satterfield, media director for Intermark Group, was the senior vice president of media and promotion at FOX when Haikara was hired.
Satterfield credits Haikara’s eye for the big picture and his understanding of the company's national goals for his quick ascension. His passion for the business, she said, set him apart from his peers during his early days at FOX.
“He was willing to take on new projects, new assignments just to learn the ropes and to be part of the process,” Satterfield said.
After Haikara left FOX in 2007, he was named co-president of Filmaka, a global studio of directors, writers and actors. There, Haikara created and directed marketing, social media and publicity campaigns promoting strategic partnerships, video content, community members and the company itself.
“Filmaka exposed me to working on the creative side of the business,” he said. “Whereas at FOX, I was focused mostly on strategy.”
During his time at Filmaka, the company won a Webby Award for Best Drama Series for The Ten Commandments of La Vida Loca, a Web series about two brothers who join an international gang.
In 2010, Haikara moved on to MediaLink, a firm that provides strategic advisory and implementation services to companies at the convergence of media, marketing, technology and entertainment.
Michael E. Kassan, chairman and CEO of MediaLink, called Haikara the epitome of what it takes to be successful at MediaLink.
“His creative thinking and ingenuity has created a tidal wave of success when it comes to creating smart content and fostering productive conversations,” he said.
Among other projects at MediaLink, Haikara worked with Ben Stiller’s production company, Paramount and Yahoo on the series Burning Love, a parody of The Bachelor.
Since December 2008, Haikara has been a member of the Primetime Emmys Interactive Media Executive Committee, and helped launch Emmys.com, the Emmys’ official website. He calls his decision to become involved with Television Academy, the association that awards Primetime Emmys, one of the best he has made.
“The Television Academy and the IMPG are dedicated to celebrating and empowering storytellers to push the boundaries of what television can be,” he said, “especially as viewers are consuming content across both traditional and emerging platforms."
Ralph Llera is a freshman majoring in journalism and sports administration.