FYI 03.06.08

Geoff Ammer's New Identity at Marvel; 'Top Chef's' Top Sponsors

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Geoff Ammer's wearing a suit again -- only this time, it's made out of Spandex.
Geoff consulted Marvel on the forthcoming 'Iron Man.'
Geoff consulted Marvel on the forthcoming 'Iron Man.'

Mr. Ammer, the former head of worldwide marketing at Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios and co-president of marketing at Disney's film division, has been named president of worldwide marketing and home entertainment for Marvel Studios. (Named Entertainment Marketer of the Year in 2003 by Advertising Age, Mr. Ammer launched 28 No. 1 films for Sony Pictures, including Marvel titles like "Spider-Man" and its sequel.)

In his new position, he will formally oversee theatrical and home entertainment marketing for Marvel Studios' upcoming slate of live-action motion pictures, a job he'd already been performing for several months as a consultant to the company: Mr. Ammer had helped create the marketing plan on the forthcoming Marvel release "Iron Man" -- due out May 2 from Paramount -- and will now dive into "The Incredible Hulk," out June 13, distributed by Universal.

Usually, given the prodigious amounts of money spent making such super-heroic films, Marvel's marketing execs would merely be sidekicks to those of at a big Hollywood studio. But in May 2005, Marvel received over $500 million in financing via Merrill Lynch to develop, produce and fully finance movies based on Marvel's renowned catalog of characters, giving the iconic comic-book house control over its cinematic destiny. In addition to the upcoming releases of "Iron Man" and "Hulk," in development at Marvel Studios are "Captain America" and "Thor" while Twentieth Century Fox will release "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" on May 1, 2009. -- Claude Brodesser-Akner
A move to Chicago isn't the only news for Bravo's "Top Chef: Chicago," which premieres March 12 at 10 p.m. EST. The show will welcome Clorox Co., Toyota and Verizon Wireless as official sponsors this season, as well as the Michelob family of beers as an online sponsor at Also returning for the fourth-consecutive season is Food & Wine magazine, from which editor Gail Simmons will continue to serve as a series judge. The magazine will once again feature this season's winner in an upcoming issue and provide a showcase at its annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.
The new season of Bravo's 'Top Chef' heads to Chicago with new sponsors.
The new season of Bravo's 'Top Chef' heads to Chicago with new sponsors. Credit: Bravo/Chuck Hodes

"Bravo Media's 'Top Chef' sponsorship is a stellar example of the power of true synergy when aligning the best brands in the best business," Susan Malfa, senior VP-ad sales at Bravo, said in a statement. "We have generated results for our sponsor partners in past seasons -- commercial recall; positive brand recall; brand likeability and intent to purchase. We will continue to deliver those powerful results and explore new media and consumer interactivity via new technology and share those learnings with our sponsors who come to us for our innovation."

Other sponsorship elements this season include the return of the Glad Products Co., which will award this season's winner a $100,000 cash prize to finance his or her career. Joining that partnership this year are Clorox brands Kingsford, Hidden Valley and KC Masterpiece, which along with Glad host, a website that will feature exclusive "Top Chef" videos, an interactive game and content from season three chefs Casey Thompson and Chris "CJ" Jacobson. will also host an exclusive downloadable brochure featuring recipes and tips from Mr. Thompson and fellow season-three contestant Brian Malarkey.

Toyota is on board as the show's fully integrated auto sponsor, as is Verizon Wireless, which will provide its customers the opportunity to view exclusive "Top Chef" webisodes and a quick-fire challenge via the Bravo To Go channel on V Cast-enabled phones. -- Andrew Hampp
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