Creating a Lifestyle, Brought to You By Hennessy

MediaVest's Stanley Peoples Publishes a Branded Gentleman's Guide

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Who: Stanley Peoples, assistant media director, MediaVest.

Why you need to know him: Mr. Peoples is the mastermind behind "ManifestXO: Style Fundamentals for the Good Life," a brand-backed book produced by Moet Hennessy USA and sponsored by the company's Hennessy cognac brand.

Stanley Peoples wants to help men exude gentlemanly qualities in their everyday lives.

Credentials: Mr. Peoples started his career in 1998 as a media account manager at Initiative Media North America, where he oversaw accounts such as Bloomingdale's and America Online. He served as an account manager at Pepsi-Cola Southern California and as a media consultant for Pepsi-Cola North America before moving on to the New York office of Wieden & Kennedy as a media supervisor, working with clients such as Nike Brand Jordan and Foot Locker. He joined MediaVest in 2004. He currently handles the Masterfoods USA account. Mr. Peoples, along with business partner Marc Gunn, co-founded Peoples Gunn, designed and dedicated to the proliferation of style. It's through the firm that he published "Manifest XO" and is now developing its contents into other forms of entertainment with Los Angeles-based branded entertainment and marketing shop Omelet.

What's inside 'ManifestXO'? "'ManifestXO' is a 12-chapter, 200-page leather-bound book consisting of a combination of insightful commentary on how to exude gentlemanly qualities in one's everyday life, accompanied with lush photographic images and detailed illustrations." Advice includes everything from stating that every man should have "one dark and one light suit, personalized stationery, a close female friend and a current passport, ultimately reflecting a gentleman's personality." It also demonstrates how to properly tie a tie, and gives tips like always wear clean and polished shoes, only fly first class, and "every man should possess an attorney, a consumer bank account and banker, an accountant, an insurance policy and will and have a great relationship with the boss's assistant." The book retails for $45.

How did you come up with the concept for the book? "Well, after searching and reading several different texts available on the market, I realized that there wasn’t a book that consisted of a clear and concise blueprint on the different aspects of modern living for men. So I thought I would create one that was both aspiration lifestyle and an obtainable style blueprint for today's man."

Was it always envisioned for Hennessy? "No, originally my business partner, Marc Gunn, and I intended to publish the book without product integration. Through several conversations with Moet Hennessy USA on luxury lifestyle alignment, it became a natural fit to become partners."

How does Hennessy appear throughout the book? Is it obvious that the brand produced the book? "Hennessy appears prominently throughout the book, but not in an obtrusive, overdone way. The brand imagery is seamlessly blended into the content with classic style and elegance."

Does the information only live on the printed page? Or will the content also live online, for example, or be made available for other formats? "The full content currently only resides on the printed page. The Web site,, is dedicated to educate and entice visitors to learn more about the 'ManifestXO' book and the movement in and of itself. The book will also be available in an audio format during the upcoming holiday season."

Why go the publishing route rather than producing the traditional short film for the Internet or doing product placement? Basically, what's the upside in releasing a book for a brand as part of a branded entertainment strategy? "Peoples Gunn is in the business of publishing. In all things which are creative in nature, content is king, no matter what the medium. You start with a unique viewpoint on a subject matter, then if there is a brand that aligns with the vision, then the two can coexist seamlessly in many different forms. You are only limited by your imagination."

Is it less risky to create a book for a brand? "It would be risky to remain stale and non innovative. A company has to constantly reinvent itself to stay current and relevant in consumer's lives."

What are the plans in promoting the book? How will Hennessy let customers know the book exists? "The book is being promoted to tastemakers and influencers first through private events across the country. The goal is to market and promote 'ManifestXO' by bringing the concepts found in the pages to life. It will be distributed to select celebrities, businessmen and politicians who we believe would be the target market for ManifestXO. Public relations is key to developing a genuine buzz with the target consumer. The book will then be made available to the general public in June of this year."

How will you measure the book's success? "The book is being measured in two ways: general consumer perception of the brand alignment with fashion, luxury and classic style, [and with] actual book sales -- units moved off the shelf into homes of the consumers."

There is still some confusion as to what branded entertainment actually is. How do you define it? "I define branded entertainment as deliberate integration of art and commerce."

Is 'ManifestXO' your first branded-entertainment project? If not, what were some others? "'ManifestXO' is the first hard-bound branded-entertainment proposition and our intention is to be the first foremost authority on the genre."

What are some good examples of branded entertainment you've seen recently? "The Cadillac integration in this year's Super Bowl has been the best so far."

And bad? "Pick any popular music video."

What's on your TiVo? "I'm rarely at home long enough to watch the tele."

What's on your iPod? "Rise by Anoushka Shankar. She is fantastic."

What do you do on your downtime? "I dream."