MindShare Gets With The Program

Retains Producer Tortorici

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%%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%% Madison Avenue players are recognizing the growing importance of offering clients a programming capability to help them break through in a cluttered marketplace.

And while Interpublic Group of Cos. has opted to institutionalize it in the form of Magna Global Entertainment, WPP Group's MindShare has chosen to retain veteran television exec Peter Tortorici as a consultant to mine Hollywood for TV projects for its client base.

Tortorici, 54, has been a mainstay in television, having served stints as president of CBS Entertainment and in a senior role at Carsey-Werner Co. "In the grand scheme of things, he's a very strong player in the creative community with contacts at the studios, networks, and with the [talent] agent community that date back to his having lived, worked, and breathed with that group of individuals for over 10 years," said Marc Goldstein, president-CEO of MindShare North America.

Tortorici, while free to develop and produce properties for all networks, is bound exclusively to MindShare vis-à-vis competing media buying companies.

%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% Tortorici said his extensive experience as a broadcaster will serve him well in this new role. "Programming is a value proposition for all participants, but for a long time advertisers were looked at as 'dumb money,'" explained Tortorici. "But today's advertisers don't fall into that category. They know the business well and understand the perils."

As projects ramp up, Goldstein said he would bring in planning and executional teams on a client-by-client basis. "We would like to get our foundation solidly built with Peter and our clients and get a few projects up-and-running; then we'll look at whether it becomes a wider resource within WPP."

One of Goldstein's competitors holds a contrarian view. "We're all looking to build content creation capability for integrated-advertising messages," said Mike Drexler, CEO of Optimedia U.S., a unit of Publicis Groupe-owned Zenith Optimedia Group. "But our approach is to work with outside producers on an as-needed basis; we don't need to put any one on retainer nor do we need to create an internal unit."

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