PHD's Dan Arzewski Does What It Takes to Fulfill an Advertiser’s Goals

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Who: Dan Arzewski, senior vice president and director of branded entertainment at Omnicom Group’s PHD.

Why you need to know him: Since 2003, Mr. Arzewski has handled PHD’s branded-entertainment initiatives for a client list that includes Gap Inc., Reebok, Energizer and DaimlerChrysler. He has also landed Gap's Old Navy on Fox’s American Idol and sibling Banana Republic in Bravo’s Project Runway.

Dan Arzewski says technology is going to have a huge impact on the branded-entertainment space.

Credentials: Mr. Arzewski began his media career in 1993 at Creative Media, one of the agencies that was rolled up to create PHD back in 2000. He started out as an assistant buyer, eventually working on accounts like Polaroid, AXA Insurance and The Wall Street Journal. In 2001, after being promoted to vice president and associate director, he was given management duties for the Discovery Networks and Old Navy national buying accounts. In addition to his branded-entertainment responsibilities, he heads up the national broadcast groups for Old Navy and Elizabeth Arden.

What are your guidelines for doing a brand integration deal? “The place to start is with proper goals and objectives. To decide on the branded-entertainment strategy, you have to take it from there. In evaluating programs and platforms you have to look at who the partners are and obviously the content of the program. You need to look at how much access you’ll be allowed to have and what kind of seat at the production table you’ll have. You have to trust the partners that they’ll present your brand in the proper light and that you’ll have enough say in the program to make sure you’re shepherding the brand.”

What signals to you that a program is going to offer that proper light for a brand? “It has to do with what the program’s about. The perfect example is Banana Republic and Project Runway on Bravo. We looked at that show and said this is what Banana’s all about. It’s a design-focused show that’s going to be on Bravo, that’s going to be produced by Miramax, which has a fantastic reputation for putting together shows that look great. It aligned perfectly with what Banana wanted to be as a brand. When we sat down with the parties, we said this makes sense for everybody involved. It’s a good place for Banana to showcase its brand and its products. They get the message across.”

What do you like about working in the branded-entertainment space? “My background was national broadcast. I’ve always worked with clients to execute creative advertising ideas and I’ve worked with the networks. What I like about branded entertainment is that this takes it a step further. It’s not just about TV or film or outdoor. It can be whatever it takes to fulfill an advertiser’s goals or objectives. It’s creative solutions that engage and entertain people. This can be brand and product integration, this can be content development or distribution, development of emerging technology platforms. The space will continue to evolve.”

How do you think it will change? "Technology is going to have a huge impact. Look at things that are going on with cell phones and online and broadband. The large platform used to be television and there’s still a very high cost of entry to get involved. Once you have cell phones and broadband and video-game consoles, you’re going to find it’s increasingly less expensive to create your own content and distribute it to the people you want to reach.”

What’s the biggest challenge facing the branded-entertainment industry? “Measurement of product integration and ROI [return on investment] is something we’re very concerned about here. We’re working on different initiatives now because you have to provide the value to clients. There are tangibles and intangibles. Measurement is the biggest hot button in the industry.”

What fall TV programming are you looking forward to?E-Ring on NBC. That looks well-produced and interesting with some good talent. It’ll be interesting to see what The Apprentice: Martha Stewart will look like, especially after her legal battles. The Chris Rock show on UPN looks interesting. I’ll be looking forward to see how that does, on a personal note.”

What do you do on your downtime? “I love to travel, I snowboard and scuba dive. Traveling is my favorite. I was in Thailand one year before the tsunami. I’m going to Israel this September. I’ll be in Poland the year after that. Before, I was in Belize for a week of scuba-diving.”

What programs do you TiVo? “I don’t have one. I recently moved and haven’t had a chance to get one hooked up yet.”

Do you have an iPod? “I have four iPods, all different sizes.”

What are you listening to? “The new Coldplay album, the Green Day album that came out a year ago. The new U2 is fantastic.”