Mr. Ross was president-home entertainment at video producer and distributor Artisan Entertainment, and he saw more than just a series of videos pairing simple melodies with toys and events from tots' everyday lives. He also saw potential for growth. So, through a colleague who knew Ms. Aigner-Clark, Mr. Ross forged a partnership that has expanded distribution from specialty stores to mass retail and video outlets, selling more than 2 million Baby Einstein videos in a year and a half.
When mass merchants "heard the success story and saw the track record [of Baby Einstein], we opened up 32,000 new storefronts almost immediately," Mr. Ross says.
Mr. Ross, 53, brings experience as a former exec VP of Hallmark Entertainment and head of marketing for Republic Pictures and Columbia Pictures. Baby Einstein mass marketing has included in-house-developed print ads in parenting publications and a growing number of promotional tie-ins with brands such as Clorox Co.'s bleach, General Mills' Cheerios and Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s Huggies. Licensing ventures with Walt Disney Co.'s Hyperion Books and Hasbro Toys are kicking off this year, too.