|Ogilvy's new branded-entertainment chief Doug Scott previously headed up branded-entertainment projects at the New York office of public relations firm Bragman Nyman Cafarelli.
The WPP Group-owned agency has tapped Doug Scott to serve as executive director-branded content and entertainment.
Mr. Scott will bring together the wide variety of Ogilvy's disciplines, from ads to promotion and PR, to develop and execute nontraditional ideas across a wide range of media.
What that means is that Mr. Scott, who is based in New York, will be the point person, working together with Ogilvy-owned companies and divisions, including Ogilvy PR, Planning and Consulting, BIG, Discovery, OgilvyInteractive, the Digital Innovation Group, 141, Tribe 25 and Neo@Ogilvy to develop ideas for clients -- with a focus on taking a campaign and expanding it into a TV show, movie, web series or other form of media.
Production and distribution of many of the projects -- at least those that are larger and aren't based online -- will likely be handled by MindShare Entertainment, a division of media agency MindShare Worldwide, which is also owned by WPP.
“The media agency is a critical component from a distribution standpoint,” Mr. Scott said. “The creative very much sits with the brand campaign … and is really something that has to emerge from the creative agency.”
The hiring of Mr. Scott's comes as Madison Avenue giants such as BBDO and JWT try to expand their capabilities in the world of original, branded content in the TV, film, music, mobile and concert arenas. Just last month, Omnicom Group's BBDO hired Fallon's Brian DiLorenzo as executive director-content.
WPP is no stranger to branded entertainment, with Mindshare Entertainment having produced a number of projects, including a recent series of web shorts for Dove, starring “Desperate Housewives’” Felicity Huffman, and “The Order of the Serpentine,” a TV special for Unilever’s Axe. At the same time, the holding company’s JWT operates JWTwo Entertainment, which is gearing up to launch the web and TV series “Max and Katie” for Sunsilk.
Mr. Scott also is no stranger to brand-backed programming.
He had already been consulting for Ogilvy North America on several projects, including a business series for IBM. Additional projects he is developing include a documentary, an unscripted TV series and a sports sponsorship and embedded programming for other clients that Mr. Scott declined to name.
Although Mr. Scott’s development slate is growing quickly, some marketers must still be taught the value and role of branded entertainment.
“It’s about helping them understand that this not in lieu of the traditional marketing they’re accustomed to but supplemental to,” Mr. Scott said. “Entertainment is very much about engaging a consumer in a story. And that story is a means in which to capture the consumer’s interest in a brand and really tell that story in a longer format.”
Ogilvy has been relying on celebrities to promote American Express over the years. Its latest “My Life, My Card” campaign for the credit-card company features Robert De Niro, Kate Winslet, M. Night Shyamalan, Ellen Degeneres and other actor or directors. A TV and web-based effort before that was built around Jerry Seinfeld and Superman.
“The agency is taking branded entertainment very seriously,” Mr. Scott said. “Their approach to this space was to watch and learn to see where there are opportunities and how it integrates into the company’s overall strategy. But it has always been oriented around the use of entertainment around the means to communication a brand’s messaging.”
Ogilvy North America’s clients include American Express, IBM, the Virgin Group, Network Live (an event production company owned by America Online), XM Satellite Radio and Anschutz Entertainment Group.
Before working with Ogilvy, Mr. Scott was senior VP and general manager of the New York office of public-relations firm Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, part of the Interpublic Group of Cos. There, he headed up BNC’s branded-entertainment efforts, working with such clients as Sony PlayStation, General Motors, T-Mobile and American Express.
“BNC came at [branded entertainment] from a PR perspective,” Mr. Scott said. “It was limited to being at the core of the brand communications. Here, I’m very much collaborating with the creative and account teams that are developing the campaigns and can then build these kinds of platforms off of.”
Mr. Scott also has a long history of producing sponsored events, including the Blender sessions, a five-day music festival at Sundance Film Festival sponsored by Volkswagen, Diet Coke and Heineken and featuring acts such as Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and Macy Gray. In 2003, hip-hop giant Diddy — aka Sean Combs — hired Mr. Scott to executive-produce a program for MTV called "Diddy Runs the City," which raised over $2 million for New York City children.
Additionally, Mr. Scott co-founded Matter, an entertainment-marketing company that produces LOHAS, a three-day forum focused on renewable energy, organic food, eco-tourism and other health and sustainability issues. He also previously served as exec VP-marketing and branded entertainment creative director at production company Hypnotic, which launched the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival and created Reebok’s “Terry Tate, Office Linebacker.”
If there’s one lesson he’s learned over the years developing branded entertainment concepts, it’s that “measurement is really key,” he said. “As much as the world of entertainment hangs on its Nielsen numbers and box-office earnings, the world of marketing hangs on its ability to sell more products and create brand loyalty and word of mouth. Measurement is really key. Measurement will continue to be one of the driving issues out there.”
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Matthew Creamer contributed to this report.