FYI 07.31.08

Agency RPA Opens Branded-Entertainment Unit; Time for Brandchannel's Product Placement Awards

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Santa Monica, Calif.-based media agency Rubin Postaer and Associates, or RPA, is officially going Hollywood. The independent agency tapped Steve Rossmann, formerly of sports-marketing firm Gersh Agency, to lead RPA's new branded-entertainment unit as manager. Mr. Rossmann brings extensive experience to the new gig, having held similar positions at 20th Century Fox, Endeavor and Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment before overseeing branded entertainment and digital media at the Gersh Agency.

"RPA already has years of experience extending our clients' brands with product placement and brand integrations on TV and other media thanks to our established relationships with broadcast and cable networks, local stations, syndicators, production companies, talent agencies, radio, print and online," Bill Hagelstein, chief operating officer of RPA, said in a statement. "It is a natural progression for the agency to broaden our client services in order to maximize client's media value in the marketplace."

Indeed, the agency has racked up several notable branded-entertainment deals in recent months, having brought longtime client Honda in as the integrated automotive sponsor of TNT's "Blank Slate" micro-series and upcoming full-length movie, both produced by Dean Devlin. Last summer, the agency created a series of branded interstitials for its client La-Z Boy that aired on Scripps cable networks HGTV and DIY.

RPA is the latest agency to create a dedicated branded-entertainment unit in recent months, with Publicis Groupe's Digitas opened its own division, Third Act, in May. -- Andrew Hampp this week kicked off its Brandcameo Product Placement Awards with a reader's survey. Writer Abram Sauer also puts together an informative overview of brand apearances in movies over the past year. Some of the movies he (gently) pokes fun at or applauds a few of the films that M&V has looked at this summer, including "Iron Man" and Sex and the City." Go ahead and take the survey.
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