The appointment comes as Madison Avenue, facing increasing difficulty in breaking through the clutter, recognizes the growing importance of a programming capability. Interpublic Group of Cos. has opted to institutionalize it in the form of Magna Global Entertainment, but WPP is going a different route.
Mr. Tortorici, 54, has been president of both CBS Entertainment and Telemundo and was a senior executive at Carsey-Werner Co.
"He's a very strong player in the creative community with contacts at the studios, networks, and with the [talent] agent community that date back to his having lived, worked, and breathed with that group of individuals for over 10 years," said Marc Goldstein, president-CEO of MindShare North America.
Mr. Goldstein went on to say that Mr. Tortorici, while free to develop and produce properties for all networks, is bound exclusively to MindShare vis-a-vis competing media-buying companies.
"Programming is a value proposition for all participants, but for a long time advertisers were looked at as `dumb money,"' said Mr. Tortorici. "But today's advertisers don't fall into that category. They know the business well and understand the perils."
As projects ramp up, Mr. Goldstein said he would bring in planning and execution teams on a client-by-client basis. "We would like to get our foundation solidly built with Peter and our clients and get a few projects up and running; then we'll look at whether it becomes a wider resource within WPP."
But not all media agencies are looking to the MindShare or Magna Global models. "We're all looking to build content creation capability for integrated-advertising messages," said Mike Drexler, CEO of Optimedia U.S., a unit of Publicis Groupe's Zenith Optimedia Group. "But our approach is to work with outside producers on an as-needed basis; we don't need to put anyone on retainer, nor do we need to create an internal unit."