Harvey Weinstein Milks Mother

Could pact lead to more brand integration in Miramax Pics?

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%%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%% Mother, New York, the U.S. offspring of a red-hot British ad agency, has inked an experimental first-look pact for content with Miramax, a Hollywood studio,known not only for its maverick leadership and Oscar-friendly feature films, but also for its aggressive courtship of Madison Avenue.

"They're wickedly creative," said Lori Sale, the studio's exec VP-promotions. "We're tapping into their brainpower so that we can create new things together."

The two companies will immediately start to develop new properties, both standalone, non-brand-oriented projects as well as those that may involve brand integration. Ideas from Mother could become TV or film properties or a line of character-based merchandise. Miramax has first dibs on whatever concepts that spring from the Mother lab. Miramax would help create and distribute the entertainment, owning it wholly or in part, depending on details that have yet to be fully hammered out.

"We're not all of the sudden going to become a company of screenwriters," said Andrew Deitchman, one of the four partners of Mother New York. "But we think this is one way of moving forward. It's experimental. It's one way of making sure that ad agencies are as vital 10 years from now as they were 10 years ago."

Mother will also work as a creative and marketing consultant on Miramax's film releases, and, in some cases, help to execute those.

%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% "We're going into this with a blank piece of paper," Sale said. "We don't have certain expectations. We just want to get smart people in a room and see what bubbles up."

Miramax chieftain Harvey Weinstein has been one of the more innovative movie studio moguls to reach out to marketers over the past couple of years. In 2002, he inked a deal with Coors for product placement.

Mother, which opened its doors in New York late last year, has started working with the NBA and McDonald's-backed Chipotle Mexican restaurants.

Mother London has been active in entertainment, creating programming for the BBC and short films.

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