Fox puts brand effort with Goodby on hold

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After hiring theatrical marketing veteran Senn Moses as exec VP-marketing last week, Fox Broadcasting Co. put its business at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, on hold.

"I don't know if Goodby is going to be working for us," said Sandy Grushow, chairman of Fox Television Entertainment Group, who hired Mr. Moses. "All of that is up in air."

Goodby was hired late last year by outgoing Exec VP-Marketing George Greenberg, who now becomes exec VP-production and programming for Fox Sports Television Group. Goodby executives have indicated the shop's Fox work is now on hiatus.

Goodby was to work on a overall branding strategy for the network, said executives familiar with the project, described as similar to ABC's "TV is good" campaign.

Currently, almost all the Entertainment Group's advertising is handled in-house, although WongDoody, West Hollywood, Calif., also works with Fox.

Mr. Grushow wouldn't rule out that Goodby might be tapped in the future. But much of Fox's focus now is on restarting the network, which witnessed steep ratings drops this season. It must also address the turmoil following President of Entertainment Doug Herzog's departure less than a year after taking the job.

NOT JUST TIME PERIODS

A major reason for hiring Mr. Moses, 46, is Mr. Grushow's intention to take theatrical-style marketing to TV. Mr. Moses was senior VP-worldwide marketing for Columbia Pictures, working on films such as "Big Daddy," "Cruel Intentions" and "The End of the Affair."

"Senn . . . knows how to create events, and he has the ability to manage brands," Mr. Grushow said. "I don't believe that just getting good time periods is the answer any longer." For example, though Twentieth Century Fox Television's "Stark Raving Mad" gained the prized 9:30 p.m. (ET) Thursday slot this season on NBC, he said that network has done little to promote the show.

`DESTINATION FOR TV BRAND'

"Now, you need the concept of creating a destination for a TV brand," said Mr. Moses. "[With movies] every weekend you have to create an event, a destination. It's the theatrical experience that is valuable with my background."

For a number of years, TV networks have pushed their major miniseries with theatrical marketing tacks. A few years ago, NBC created a weeklong event for "Merlin" at New York's Rockefeller Center, where the "Today" studio is located-and garnered a number of sponsors for the effort.

"One of the things that has bothered me is how ineffective TV marketing has been," Mr. Grushow said. "I was looking for the best marketing person, certainly someone who comes out of a film background. I believe theatrical skills you develop are applicable to TV."

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