Partnership Helps PR Powerhouse Porter Novelli Go Hollywood

Opens Entertainment Division With L.A. Talent Reps Rose Group

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LOS ANGELES -- Global public-relations firm Porter Novelli, trying to bring its clients closer to the glitz of Hollywood, has made an alliance with the Rose Group of Los Angeles, which recently helped launch the Playboy Club in Las Vegas and link Campari cocktails to emerging artists.
Lisa Rosenberg and Jeff Rose will head up, respectively, the East and West Coast operations of Porter Novelli Entertainment.

The companies' partners are forming a division called Porter Novelli Entertainment, which will be based in New York and Los Angeles and dedicated to guiding advertisers into the worlds of branded entertainment, celebrity seeding, sponsorships and other lifestyle marketing.

Formalizing entertainment offering

Porter Novelli, part of Omnicom Group, handles public relations for clients such as Procter & Gamble, Hewlett Packard, Pfizer, Qualcomm, GlaxoSmithKline and the American Cancer Society. The company already has been active in entertainment marketing but didn't have a formal division devoted to it.

"We wanted to build a brain trust," said Lisa Rosenberg, a partner in the newly formed unit who will run the East Coast operation. "This makes us stronger and more competitive, and it gives our clients added value."

The trend among media and public-relations companies in recent years has been to gobble up boutique agencies with specialized skills. Porter Novelli executives instead decided to reach out to a Hollywood-based company to strengthen and formalize its work in the space.

"This is a relationship where our thinking can be baked into their offerings to their clients," said Jeff Rose, principal of the Rose Group, who will head up the Los Angeles division with Vice President Brian Rosman and Porter Novelli's exec VP, Wendy Watson.

Already winning new business

Porter Novelli and Rose Group have already won new business under their alliance. The two will be working to turn an in-the-works luxury real-estate property in Montana called Ameya Preserve into a celebrity destination similar to Aspen or the Hamptons. They worked on the recent touring show of Cirque du Soleil, and Rose Group executives consulted with Porter Novelli on the hookup between Mariah Carey's tour and Gillette's Venus brand.

They also will collaborate to make the most of the implosion of the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas to make way for a $4 billion-dollar complex from client Boyd Gaming that will be home to high-end hotels such as Echelon Resort, the Mondrian and the Delano.

Branded entertainment might not be right for every client, Ms. Rosenberg said, but advertisers and nonprofit organizations increasingly want to link with celebrities to break through the din of marketing messages.

Some clients that haven't played in the space might be encouraged to do so because of the new division, Ms. Rosenberg said. It will be a selling point when she talks to potential new clients.

Packaging the service to clients

"We didn't overtly sell our entertainment-marketing services to clients before," Ms. Rosenberg said. "But now that it's packaged like this, it will make it easier for us to showcase these skills."

A few clients, namely Timberland and ChapStick, could be primed for entertainment and lifestyle marketing because of their young target audiences.

The partners have a history together, working on last year's program for the 50th anniversary of Kermit the Frog, for which Rose Group helped bring in talent to create custom-designed T-shirts. Jennifer Garner and Quentin Tarantino, among others, made shirts that were auctioned for charity.

Porter Novelli is a founding partner of DBI, an index for marketers that looks at a celebrity's ability to influence consumer purchases. Executives intend to use that system to try to match talent and advertisers, and Rose Group could be a conduit to those celebrities.

Rose Group's clients, including Atlantic Records, could provide a stable of talent for advertisers looking for sponsorship opportunities, spokespeople and music-licensing deals. Rose Group also works with Skyy Vodka, Design Within Reach and the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival.

Handling Gillette's branded entertainment

Porter Novelli is no stranger to branded entertainment, having helped put together a deal that wove Gillette's M3 Power Nitro razor into two episodes of "American Chopper." Paul Teutul Sr. and Paul Jr. built a custom motorcycle to resemble the blade and delivered the bike to Gillette's Boston headquarters. It was later auctioned on eBay, and the proceeds went to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition.

The Gillette Venus deal around Mariah Carey's recent tour, which included mobile marketing, radio promotions and Ms. Carey's "legs of a goddess" designation, showed the kinds of relationships marketers want with talent and entertainment.

"Clients see value in longer-term relationships rather than one-offs," Ms. Rosenberg said. "And they're looking for ways to amplify the deal and bring it into the marketplace in a big way."
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