Mr. McCarter helped facilitate Pepsi's brand integration in the music show "Pepsi Smash" and game show "Pepsi Play for a Billion," both of which aired on the WB network. "Both programs have represented firsts, but they've been giant steps for us," adds Ms. Reichert. This year alone, Mr. McCarter has negotiated around $50 million worth of branded entertainment deals.
Mr. McCarter, 46, has been around the proverbial entertainment block. He began his ad career as an assistant media planner at Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide before switching to Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide. By the mid-1990s Mr. McCarter was a director of program development connecting clients such as Chrysler Corp. and Campbell Soup Co. to made-for-TV sports events and movies of the week. "The client started asking for a broadened offering to include integrated sponsorship deals," and as the cable business and the Web burgeoned, "we were managing multimedia deals," says Mr. McCarter.
EARLY TO SPOT REALITY
Perhaps his biggest coup was to persuade brands such as Visa International and PepsiCo's Doritos to take a chance on the first successful reality TV shows. He worked closely with CBS and producer Mark Burnett on the first and subsequent series of "Survivor."
`"Survivor' opened the door to doing branded integration, and it has continued to grow," adds Mr. McCarter. Mr. Burnett's production partner Conrad Riggs says: "Guy was instrumental on `Survivor.' He has unique ideas that have changed television."
Now he's known to main reality TV producers, networks, talent agencies as well as the marketers. Mr. McCarter's Rolodex, or rather his BlackBerry, extends well beyond the TV business; he is plugged into the music industry's top managers and Hollywood top producers. He helped set up two promotions for Cingular Wireless. One was a tie-in with Sony Pictures Entertainment's "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle," the second was to license a Sugar Ray song "Answer the Phone" for a spot that offered back-stage passes.
Such deals are time consuming and complex, but as Pepsi's Ms. Reichert explains, "He's very restrained, but he has the tough conversations when he needs to." Mr. McCarter's job isn't simply about matching and packaging people-he actively seeks distribution for the ideas he gets behind.
When asked whether the business of branded entertainment is likely to expand, he says there is no lack of willingness on the marketer side, but when the market is tight, the networks exert all the control they can. "There is a resistance of the networks to let brands get too involved in programming," says Mr. McCarter. "I think we'll see more of [branded entertainment] when there's a lighter marketplace."