PR Giant Ketchum to Acquire Entertainment Marketing Partners

Founders Mark and Erik Stroman Bring Deal-Making Expertise to Omnicom Clients

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LOS ANGELES -- After running their own show for the past three years, entertainment marketing veterans Mark and Erik Stroman are selling their company to advertising behemoth Omnicom Group, according to executives close to the deal.
Mark Stroman and his brother Erik are selling their entertainment marketing company to PR powerhouse Ketchum.

The identical twin brothers, whose penchant for fast deal-making and even faster talking has earned them the "irreverent" tag in Hollywood and on Madison Avenue, will work under Omnicom's Ketchum Entertainment Marketing division. As part of the move, the Stromans will combine a client list that includes Activision, Major League Soccer and R&R Partners, with the PR powerhouse's Estee Lauder, Best Buy's Geek Squad, Levi Strauss and Wendy's accounts.

Exist as stand-alone entity

The Stromans' company, Los Angeles- and New York-based Entertainment Marketing Partners, will be absorbed into Ketchum and will cease to exist as a stand-alone entity. The sale, the price of which is undisclosed, is one of many similar deals in which media conglomerates have gobbled up smaller companies to gain access to client rosters and executives with expertise in the branded-entertainment space.

The Stromans and Ketchum executives declined to comment, citing loose ends of a deal that has long been in the works.

Mark and Erik Stroman cut their professional teeth in TV promotions, helping launch the Fox network in the early 1990s by bartering deals between marketers and the nascent net's entertainment and sports programming.

After a brief detour into dot-com land, they spent about three years at Hollywood talent agency Endeavor, where they started a marketing division that later spun off as a separate entity. While there, they forged a groundbreaking deal between the UPN network and seven marketers -- Duracell, McDonald's and Intel, among others -- all Omnicom clients.

They've also worked with marketers such as General Motors Corp., Taco Bell, Jeep, PepsiCo, Kmart and Anheuser-Busch in the past.

Company foundedin 2003

The duo founded Entertainment Marketing Partners in summer 2003 with clients such as JetBlue Airways; R&R Partners, the ad agency for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority; and the Borgata, a trendy Atlantic City casino.

An early project was a New Year's Eve special, set in Vegas, that aired on Fox. The project, with Budweiser, General Motors, Miramax, Universal Home Entertainment and others, aired for two consecutive years.

The Stromans also inked a deal between JetBlue and News Corp. that included in-flight content, pay-per-view movies and Fox branded channels.

The brothers will work with Ketchum Entertainment Marketing's Tom Freydl, managing director, and Mark Owens, co-managing director.

Ketchum's entertainment reach

Ketchum Entertainment Marketing is a division of the Omnicom public relations agency Ketchum, whose clients include Estee Lauder, Kodak, Procter & Gamble, Levi Strauss, Chase Financial Services and Wendy's International.

Ketchum, one of the world's largest PR firms, formed the marketing division as a way to extend beyond media relations and celebrity seeding. The unit is looking for content deals and partnerships in areas like video-on-demand, wireless, video games, feature films and branded entertainment.
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