FYI 05.18.2005

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Ad industry veteran Rob Donnell has launched Brand Arc, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based branded entertainment agency whose initial client roster includes Toyota Motor Sales USA. The new shop will serve as Toyota's primary contact for the entertainment industry for opportunities in film, TV, music, games, fashion, sports, online and events. Brand Arc will work with Toyota consultant Rich Frank of The Firm and media-buying agency Zenith and agency of record Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles, part of Publicis Groupe. Mr. Donnell previously spent more than 15 years at WPP Group's JWT and led its branded entertainment unit Amplify for the past four years. There, he repped Ford Motor Co. in Hollywood. | It may still be difficult to measure the payoff for brands that are integrated into a TV show, but the Internet’s helping to provide some numbers. Traffic to the Web sites of sponsors that backed tasks in this season of NBC’s The Apprentice surged, with Unilever’s Dove Body Wash generating the most hits -- an increase of 1,512% the week ended Feb. 12 over the previous week, according to research firm Hitwise. Traffic to from search engines also increased during the week of the show, increasing 1,062%. Comparably, an episode featuring the General Motor's Pontiac Solstice roadster saw a 180% increase the week of its airing, while Domino’s Pizza went up 64%, Sony’s PlayStation rose nearly 20% and Airstream rounded out the top five with an uptick of 11%.

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