OMNICOM BEEFS UP BRANDED ENTERTAINMENT UNITS

PHD Joins With Davie-Brown to Create Drum

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NEW YORK -- The world’s largest ad holding company is set to beef up its branded-entertainment presence as Omnicom Group’s two media buying-and-planning networks get ready to roll out two new offerings.
Omnicom's PHD, which currently runs a U.K. content company called Drum, is creating a U.S. unit of the same name.



No. 2 media network PHD is entering into a joint venture with Davie-Brown Entertainment to create Drum, a stand-alone entertainment marketing outfit that will work in branded content and product integration as well as more traditional areas like event marketing and film tie-ins.

Drum in the U.S.

PHD, trading on its British heritage, is using the name Drum for the venture, which will be run by Dan Arzewski, senior VP-director of branded entertainment, and Davie-Brown Exec VP Robert Schneider, according to executives familiar with the situation. In the UK, PHD operates a content subsidiary of the same name that co-produced a highly regarded branded sports TV show for The Guardian newspaper.

Further details on how Drum will operate have yet to be disclosed, but the company will have to differentiate itself in some way, should Davie-Brown continue to operate the way it has been for the past 20 years. The Los Angeles-based company also describes itself as an entertainment marketing firm, and brokers product placement, tie-ins and promotions for clients such as Pepsi and its line of beverage brands, HP, Reebok, Yahoo, Sony’s PlayStation and Cisco Systems, among others.

'First Descent'

The company is also one of the producers of “First Descent,” the feature-length documentary about snowboarding that Pepsi’s Mountain Dew financed and Universal Pictures distributed in theaters in December.

Meanwhile, larger sibling OMD is importing Fuse, its successful European concept, to the U.S. OMD is partnering with the Radiate Group, an Omnicom network of experiential-marketing agencies, capable of creating live events like music tours, auto shows and sporting events. In the U.S., Fuse will be run by Guy McCarter, director of entertainment marketing for OMD, according to executives familiar with the situation.

Since its European launch in April, OMD Fuse has negotiated a sports-adventure series deal for Nissan and a sponsorship deal for 118118.com, a British online telephone directory.

No comment

The agencies either declined to comment or failed to return calls.

Omnicom agencies, of course, have long been active in the field of branded entertainment, integrating advertisers into TV shows, movies or even developing and producing their own programming.

One recent high-profile project put OMD clients like Clorox, State Farm, JC Penney and Nissan into the reality show “Meet Mr. Mom,” which was co-produced by Omnicom’s branded entertainment production entity Full Circle Entertainment. PHD and Full Circle recently got Reebok, Energizer and Dodge into “Bound for Glory,” the ESPN reality series about a high-school football team.
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