Andy Lack's new post at Sony Music has media gadflies taking bets on how well any outsider will be able to navigate the more free-wheeling music industry. One former A&R exec, currently in the midst of his own refashioning as a "branded content broker," chortled disdainfully: "The idea of a buttoned-up newsie coming in and trying to tame the three-ring circus that is your average record label is patently absurd." What would seem equally absurd is the prospect of deposed Sony Music capo Tommy Mottola-whom Lack is replacing-assimilating into the ad agency culture. But that was the juiciest piece of scuttlebutt making the rounds at New York's Michael's last week as insiders whispered that Omnicom's downtown marketing impresario Peter Arnell is eager to orchestrate a deal for his pal Mottola to run a hybrid label/branded-content unit for Omnicom President-CEO John Wren. Arnell roundly denied this fish-out-of-water scenario.
"Hitler: Origins of Evil," CBS's proposed miniseries, will be a hard sell to advertisers given the controversial subject matter. The program-about a young Adolf Hitler-is set to air during May sweeps. "The concept doesn't make you jump in with both feet," said one media agency executive. "It is tough to commercialize messages. ... It is hard to sponsor something like this unless you have a specific agenda." CBS executives haven't yet discussed ad plans for the Hitler program.