SONY NAMES MARKETING PRESIDENT IN WAKE OF BOGUS ADS

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(Aug. 21, 2001) -- In the wake of some glaring movie marketing snafus, Sony Pictures Entertainment named Geoffrey Ammer president of marketing of its Columbia TriStar Marketing Group.

Mr. Ammer had been a marketing executive at Revolution Studios, which has a long-term production deal at Sony. Former Walt Disney Studios Chairman Joe Roth runs Revolution Studios. Mr. Ammer also previously worked at Disney, as co-president of marketing of the Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group. In addition, Mr. Ammer held executive roles at Fox Filmed Entertainment.

Mr. Ammer comes to Sony after two recent advertising mishaps at the studio. Josh Goldstine, the senior executive vice president of marketing, was one of two executives who were put on a 30-day suspension recently as a result of using quotes from a fictional movie critic, David Manning, in print advertising materials for a number of movies including The Animal, A Knight's Tale, and Hollow Man.

The studio also admitted to using testimonials from unidentified Sony executives in TV commercials to tout movies.

"This was not a direct reaction to the David Manning situation," said Jeff Blake, president of worldwide marketing and distribution for Columbia TriStar Motion Pictures Group, in explaining the move to bring in Mr. Ammer. "This was about adding an executive that could help in the day-to-day operations of the department. We have to have as strong a team as possible. We have twice as many releases as other studios coming out in 2002."

In an unusual structure for a chief studio marketing executive, Mr. Ammer will not have creative advertising reporting to him; that unit is headed by Mr. Goldstine. Instead, Mr. Goldstine will report directly to Mr. Blake, as will Mr. Ammer.

"I now have two people in the domestic marketing group," said Mr. Blake. "I also have one person in the domestic theatrical distribution group, and two people in the international group. It still a pretty compact set of key go-to executives. I really don't think I've built an unruly structure." -- Wayne Friedman

Copyright August 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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