Topsail Group, LLC


  • Claire Geier

    Claire Geier, an experienced advertising executive with J. Walter Thompson and Earle Palmer Brown, has managed a variety of businesses including a major US airline, USAir, and one of the world's most respected diet services, Weight Watchers.

    For the past 12 years, she has focused on her real passion, consumer insights. Clair believes that effective communications has to begin with harnessing a clear insight about the customer to the brand truth. Employing her own creative and unconventional interview techniques, she has worked with a wide variety of clients to help them uncover the key insight that enabled them to effectively position and differentiate their brands. Notable clients include: Blackboard, Inc., The American Red Cross, QuickChek Food Stores, National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, The Kaplan Thaler Group, and McCann-Erickson. Working with the Kaplan Thaler Group, she has positioned and launhed a variety of successful prescription drugs.

    Category experience includes travel, banking, non-profits, utilities, healthcare and pharmaceutials, food service and retail.

    Claire started her career as a political analyst on Capitol Hill. She graduated from the Catholic University of America with a BA degree in Political Science and received a MA in International Politis from the George Washington University.


  • John Short

    John Short is a senior communications creative executive with a unique mix of artistic talent and business acumen. He has created World Class brand identities and international communications in a wide array of industries. John has demonstrated business success with Fortune 500 brands (IBM, J&J, Panasonic, Coca-Cola, Bacardi, and Maybelline).

    John is experienced in running large global creative teams in agencies like Lintas Worldwide and BBDO. In particular he introduced The IBM ThinkPad, The new Chrysler Corporation, a new company for Goodyear North America, Veyance Technologies, he introduced The Living in HD campaign for Panasonic, he created award winning work for Johnson & Johnson that is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, and he also created a branding program for 30 countries for Lexmark international with complex language and legal, packaging and retail challenges.

    John founded independent branding company called Ocean Group with Panasonic North America in 2001 to present with Panasonic and Lexmark as anchor brands.

    More recently in 2009 created the 3rd highest scoring test commercial in ASI history for Marcal Paper, and is presently branding Commercial Real Estate for Silverstein Properties, developer of the World Trade Center.

    John has a strong fine arts background and has an honor (BFA) of The School of Visual Arts. He interned for the one of the founding artists of the conceptual art movement, Joseph Kosuth and helped introduce the Avant guard art journal “The Fox”.

    His early work was shown in galleries in NYC, Canada and Italy. His Innovative, video, filmmaking, painting and sculpture talents and cutting edge multi-media experience always give his work a fresh provocative look and feel for clients.

  • Kevin O'Neil

    Kevin has fashioned a communications career of unusual dynamism and diversity: news reporter, award-winning copywriter and creative director, advertising agency president, creative consultant to leading corporations, content developer and university professor.

    He has been the senior creative executive at both globe-straddling agency networks and creative boutiques on a glittering array of world-class brands including IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Sara Lee, Hanes, Panasonic, Lego, AT&T, Lexmark, Unilever and Bacardi. His work has been recognized by every major creative award competition and he has been featured in the Wall Street Journal's Creative Leaders Series, a distinction limited to the advertising industry¹s most accomplished creative practitioners.

    His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Carolina Quarterly and been cited in The Best American Short Stories of the Year, published annually by Houghton-Mifflin. He has recently published articles in Sports Illustrated, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Golf Magazine and through Scripps-Howard newspapers. He is the founding editor of Distance Learning Today, a quarterly supplement to USA TODAY dedicated to the explosive online learning sector. He is currently on the faculty of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

    Kevin was born in Brooklyn, NY. He is a graduate of Princeton University and earned an M.A. at Hollins College on a fiction-writing fellowship.

  • Jay Schoenfeld

    Jay Schoenfeld had worked at the highest levels of advertising agency and media management. Then almost 14 years ago he founded Schoenfeld and Partners LLC, an independent communications consultancy dedicated to strategy and analysis, best practices planning, buying and research, of which he is CEO and President.

    He also functioned as Senior VP and Media Director at McCann-Erickson, Inc. and then (1980-1997) Executive VP and Media Director at Bates USA where, in addition to these duties, he served as a member of the North American Executive Committee. Further, he was a long standing member of the 4 A’s Media Policy Committee.

    A portion of his agency responsibilities included participating on virtually every new business presentation and those efforts resulted in major account wins such as Miller, the Campbell’s Soup Company, Hundai, Wendy’s, etc., which he continued to help service during his tenure at the Agency. He also was the senior media executive on The Coca-Cola Company business for fifteen years.

    After several fact finding trips to the UK, Jay worked on the launch of Zenith Media in the United States, where this British based company became the first consolidated media services operation in this country. He also assisted with the consolidation of Carat’s bi-coastal media operations at the inception of the company in the US.

    During its first several years Schoenfeld & Partners acquired The RealMediaValue Company, a strategic, i.e. “beyond the numbers” media auditing firm. Jay serves as a Director of this company and an active participant in its work in the areas of ROI analysis and market evaluation.

  • Colin Bowring

    Lives in London and represents Topsail Group in Europe. Colin spent 20 years as an advertising agency planner in both the UK, at McCann and WCRS, and US, again at McCann, working with a wide range of clients such as Coca-Cola, Brown Williamson, Nestlé, Carling, Wilkinson Sword and Bell’s Whisky.

    In 1990 he co-founded brand consultancy, Serendipity, and carried out international Brand Development projects with Puma, Dunlop, Nissan, GSK, Benetton, United DistillersGroup as well as domestic projects in the UK and many European countries.

    An Economics graduate of the University of Southampton he has served as an elected Council Member of the UK Market Research Society, chairing and speaking at seminars and conferences.

    He was awarded the Best Paper Award at the 1985 MRS Annual Conference for his paper on typologies, and has also written a book on the same subject.

    He has recently added private consultancy to his business portfolio and is currently following a personal interest in wine to assist the international development of brands with Reh Kendermann of Germany.

  • Marilyn Gottlieb

    Marilyn Gottlieb is president of The Crescendo Group, a small full-service public relations firm specializing in strategic planning, media relations, corporate writing and product publicity. Category experience includes consumer products, healthcare, food, travel, business-to-business and advertising.

    Since its inception in 1993, the Company has worked with IBM, Fisher-Price, Tetra fish food, Nirvana Chocolates, The Greenwich Workshop limited edition fine art prints, the Enola Gay/Smithsonian project and the Alan Bean/Astronaut Hall of Fame project, The Senior Network, the Comprehensive Dental Group, Prudential and Golf & Travel magazine, among others.

    In addition, The Crescendo Group works in tandem with ad agencies such as Publicis Bloom, O’Leary Clarke & Partners, Gotham and McCaffery Ratner Gottlieb & Lane. For these companies, The Crescendo Group has publicized campaigns for Macanudo, Punch, and Davidoff cigars, the Cayman Islands, Nature’s Best, Meridian Wine, and L’Oreal.

    Ms. Gottlieb also has served as the public relations arm for agencies wishing to offer integrated communications and has helped clients search for larger or more specialized public relations firms.

    Prior to starting her own company, Ms. Gottlieb spent nine years as senior vice president, director of public relations for Lintas, a .8 billion worldwide advertising agency for Fortune 500 clients including diet Coke, IBM, Molson beer, Maybelline, LEGO, Bayer aspirin, Lever Brothers’ Snuggle fabric softener and others.

    Before that, she was with Ogilvy & Mather, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and New York Medical College. She produced a radio show and special events for the New York City Bicentennial Corporation, and has published numerous articles.

    Ms. Gottlieb is a past member of the Board of Advertising Women of New York and a 1990 inductee into the YWCA’s prestigious Academy of Women Achievers. Currently, she is an adjunct professor at the New School of Social Research, where she teaches a workshop in public relations