Brandweek: Dateline Industry Insights Summit

Return to Newsroom

By Becky Ebenkamp - September 22, 2003

Two days and six hours into the three-day L.A. Office RoadShow, an attendee addressed an entertainment marketing panel that included Sony's George Leon, reality-TV guru Mike Fleiss and actor-cum-marketer Corbin Bernsen.

Would the conference include a videogame day next year? It was during her non sequitur that many realized how nearly 72 hours of sleep deprivation, cocktail concoctions, surreal celebrity sightings (Sharon Stone, Cuba Gooding Jr., pudgy porn putz Ron Jeremy) and a diet of concession-sized Skittles were starting to take their toll on attendees of the Sept. 16-18 show, which hovered near L.A.'s Hollywood & Highland complex.

"The location and the 'wow' factor of premieres going on made attendees feel like they were a part of exclusive Hollywood," said Patti Regan, president/CEO of The Regan Group. "Mitch [Litvak, L.A. Office founder/show organizer] increased the entertainment value."

One-Stop Shopping Network

Mostly, attendees saw the show as a prime networking opportunity and a place to see music labels, TV networks and studios present their future franchises in 40 minutes or less.
Devery Holmes of promo agency Norm Marshall & Associates, Los Angeles, has met many a brand marketer at shows, and even got clients out of it. Dr Pepper's promo manager Bev Sorensen anticipated meeting promo partners on projects like Spider-Man 2 "in real life."

"Even though it's shameless pitching, Roadshow has a lot of momentum," said Joel Chiodi, executive director-marketing and promotions of the Game Show Network and TV day presenter. "It's amazing to have all those people in one space for a concentrated period."

On music day, emerging artists performed and labels stressed openness to brand promos, ads and tour sponsorships. Case studies, including Cadillac/Led Zeppelin and Mitsubishi/Dirty Vegas, wowed some marketers. "Warner and BMG showed how they'd done successful programs, while others went straight to the new stuff and didn't show us how they could integrate brands," said Tracy Sandford, director-marketing for JetBlue.

One thing missing in most Power Points? Brags about how well artists had sold, a trend some would blame on Internet pirating and others would attribute to a dearth of true rock stars.
"They're so desperate to sell, sell, sell, that it hurts the music promotions category," said an observer. "It took away from the cachet."

Franky Goes to Hollywood

That is, until Franky Perez (Lava) hit the stage during a late-day lull and spewed a mid-set comment on the trend of signing attractive yet hollow bubblegum acts over developed performers/artists. "Good fucking artists can save the industry!" hollered the Cuban American rawker after channeling Jim Morrison's charisma, The Boss' blue collar ethic and James Brown's fancy footwork.

Audrey Eden, vp-partnership marketing for agency Fanscape, said the day was great for those who have relationships with featured artists. Her pitch to marketers: "We work with Franky. Let's talk about developing a program that captures his passion and translates that into an emotional experience for your brand."

For Holmes, TV day offers a chance to learn about new networks and how to navigate opportunities in the medium. Holmes said she expected branded entertainment on TV to be a hot-button topic during cocktail hour. "What's worked, what hasn't, how to ensure the show stays on-air after we've committed marketing dollars," she said. TV presenters included ABC, Nick, Fox and E!

Film studios paid more than lip service to the idea of long-term brand deals. Sony was on target with films, and put the "show" in showbiz with an entertaining presentation. Warner Bros. (Racing Stripes, Catwoman) gave brands a blueprint of how they could be involved.

Getting Pushed to the Edge

Videogame lady's stumping of the panel marked the official start of the show's Wrap Party, where the real work began. Names were dropped, cards were swapped and ideas took baby steps to becoming rough-market realities.

"People are buzzing about how hard it is to build awareness," Chiodi said. "We have tight budgets, but promo people come up with creative things when they're pushed to the edge. That's when we do our best thinking."