Brands To Yuk It Up In Gotham

Alliance partners with NYC comedy impresario

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%%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%% In partnership with Grey Global Group's Alliance and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York comedy impresario Caroline Hirsch, the owner of Caroline's on Broadway, is launching the inaugural New York Comedy Festival. It will run Nov.9-13, and will also include a one-hour TV special.

The five-day standup-comedy event will offer branding opportunities for three sponsors. Alliance CEO Jarrod Moses said automotive, food and beverage, and financial services are three key categories that are being pursued.

"Because laughter is such a cathartic activity, a comedy festival will certainly take a brand to the next level in terms of building brand personality and connecting with the consumer in a unique way. Comedy is fresh," said Moses.

The project was Hirsch's inspiration. "It really got into my mind after Sept.11. I was thinking about doing this because people were coming to me and saying, 'My God, all we want to do is laugh.'" Then last year after the 20th anniversary show of her famous comedy club at Carnegie Hall, she decided to create a property on a bigger level. "[New York] is the birthplace of comedy. So I'm taking a crack at it," said Hirsch. She plans on promoting fan favorites as well as emerging talent.

Venues that will be a part of the festival include the legendary Apollo Theater, Madison Square Garden, Town Hall and the Beacon Theater.

%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% As for the brands, one ownership position and two secondary packages will be sold by Moses and his team at Alliance. The ownership position entitles the brand to complete branding throughout the festival and naming rights as well as naming rights to the TV show. "We're also going to act as liaison to talent so brands can utilize talent at no cost to promote their brand along with the festival," said Moses. The secondary brands will get integration on-site.

The brands will also be able to buy spots and be integrated into the TV program for half the rate that will be sold to the general market. The three sponsors would be the only ones to get integration into the TV show, according to Moses.

The producers aim to have the brands locked in by the end of April. The talent lineup will be announced in August.

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