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BRANDED ENTERTAINMENT CONTINUES TO GAIN TRACTION

Madison & Vine Conference Brings Together 16 Top Executives for Industry Debate

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Taking place yesterday as a part of Advertising Week, the first Madison & Vine East conference brought together 16 top-level media, marketing and entertainment executives for a Socratic debate about the potential and future of branded entertainment.

Jeffrey A. Bell, vice president of the Chrysler and Jeep Chrysler Group, explains what makes branded entertainment work.
Watch Frank Cooper, vice president for promotions and interactive marketing of Pepsi-Cola North America.

Conducted in NYU's Skirball Center theater in front of an audience of 400, the morning session was organized by Harvard Law professor and Emmy Award-winner Arthur Miller, who does similar debates for PBS. Although he lightheartedly referred to the proceedings as a "90-minute bull session" the actual repartee could hardly have been more serious or insightful.

Marketing chiefs
Among the panelists were Jeffrey A. Bell, vice president of the Chrysler and Jeep Chrysler Group; Frank Cooper III, vice president for promotions and interactive marketing of Pepsi-Cola North America; Irwin Gotlieb, Worldwide CEO of Group M, one of the world's largest media-buying companies; TV producers Ben Silverman of Reveille and Michael Davies of Embassy Row; and Lewis Henderson, senior vice president of the William Morris talent agency.

One theme woven through the talks was that executives throughout the industry who as little as a year ago still perceived branded entertainment to be a gimmicky fad, had been forced to confront it within their own companies as a marketing discipline that can no longer be ignored. Many described new moves by marketing companies to dedicate parts of their advertising budgets specifically to Madison & Vine projects.

New set of demands
The group also acknowledged throughout its discussions that branded entertainment brings a whole new set of accountability demands and challenges with it, and that if it is going to fully "grow up" its ROI has to be proven, better metrics must be developed and real objectives have to be put in place.

As the conference ended, Advertising Age editor Scott Donaton conducted on-camera interviews with Mr. Bell of Chrysler and Mr. Cooper of PepsiCo so that they could elaborate further on some of the issues they raised as among the most important for the fullest development of the emerging Madison & Vine space. Excerpts of those interviews can be viewed above.

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