Norm Marshall Charts Growth

Hires cable marketing vet to run New York office

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%%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%% Despite his revered status as one of the pioneers of product placement, Norm Marshall has cut an enigmatic figure in the marketing-through-entertainment world. Earlier this week, the usually press-shy, self-proclaimed Rodney Dangerfield of marketing-through-entertainment opened up to Madison+Vine, charting his course for growth and expansion that includes the hiring of cable-marketing mainstay John Zamoiski to launch his East Coast operation.

Zamoiski, currently a senior executive at the Gem Group, will join Marshall on Jan. 1 to launch the East Coast office of the North Hollywood-based Norm Marshall & Associates in New York with a dozen staffers. Zamoiski will become president-marketing while longtime NMA President Devery Holmes will become president-entertainment. The two senior executives will act as Chairman-CEO Marshall's key lieutenants.

"People like to paint us into a corner of being just a product-placement agency," Marshall said. "The reality is lot of things [the media] writes about in this space are things we do and have been doing for a long time and winning awards for. Our promotional marketing program for Baskin-Robbins and NBC was the kind of thing that people are all trying to do."

Zamoiski, who founded Vertical Mix Marketing, an integrated entertainment marketing company, has known Marshall for 20 years.

"They needed an East Coast presence and someone with a classic marketing background who understands the TV business inside and out," said Zamoiski. "Norm and Devery have already begun [over the past few years] changing focus to product integration and all the marketing that comes through that integration, maximizing all the consumer touchpoints."

%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% "We're under fire from Madison Avenue and from Wilshire Boulevard," said Marshall, who said he's been approached by his erstwhile competitors from both the advertising holding companies and the major talent agencies to join forces. Unlike its chief rival Davie-Brown Entertainment, which has continued to flourish under the roof of the Omnicom Group, Marshall is intent on remaining independent.

"I believe you need the ability to be Switzerland, which is frankly where the talent agencies are totally conflicted," said Marshall. "The perception from the studio side is that they don't necessarily want those guys involved, running the costs up. From my perspective, I only work for clients and they recognize that and realize there's not a hidden agenda."

Marshall, 60, who had been rumored to be looking to "cash out", said he's excited about the future and denies all speculation about retirement. He has an office in Sydney, Australia, as well as an alliance with Dentsu in Tokyo, and will follow the establishment of his New York office by setting up a presence in Europe, fueled in part by the needs of his global Heineken account.

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