Initiative Hires Key Execs for Entertainment Divisions

Jason Meil, Katy Ferguson Have Youth and Experience

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NEW YORK ( -- Now that former Initiative West chief Alan Cohen has officially taken the reins as the new CEO of Omnicom Group's OMD -- with two of his former colleagues in tow -- the agency has re-staffed its entertainment-marketing divisions with two key hires.
Jason Meil
Jason Meil

Jason Meil will join as exec VP-director of Initiative's Innovations group starting Oct. 1, based in the Interpublic Group of Cos. agency's West Coast office. Mr. Meil comes to Initiative from Current Media, the news and entertainment company launched by Al Gore in August 2005, where he was senior VP-original programming, acquisitions and user-generated content.

'Ahead of the curve'
"Jason's career has been staked on staying ahead of the curve," Initiative U.S. President Tim Spengler said in a statement. "He's equally conversant with both consumers and emerging platforms, and he's proven himself an excellent marketer with a vision for where the world is going. He'll be a great addition to our already best-in-class Innovations team."

Mr. Meil, 38, is based in San Francisco, and will frequently jet between Silicon Valley and his new Los Angeles offices to continue his curve-leading status. Through his experience in trying to reach 18- to 34-year-olds at their every touchpoint, Mr. Meil has had relationships with the folks at YouTube, MySpace and Facebook long before their corporate acquisitions and controversial ad models.

"I want to be able to make sure I'm identifying the next MySpace and Twitter to take a chance on these things that are going to be huge," he said. "It's about being at the front as opposed to following."

From the TV trenches
Joining Mr. Meil at Initiative is Katy Ferguson, who joined Initiative's East Coast office Sept. 2 as VP-group account director, spearheading efforts for the agency's CBS, Showtime and Fuse accounts. Ms. Ferguson comes to Initiative from Omnicom's PHD, where she worked on the agency's HBO account, including the Cannes Grand Prix-winning "Voyeur" campaign.

Ms. Ferguson, 33, relished the opportunity to inherit the account of HBO's rival, which is about to kick off new episodes of its original series "Dexter" and "Californication." "HBO provided me with a lot of access and experience in promoting their businesses," she said. "You can't just be pushing messages out there and expect people to come to your network. It's not just about plopping an ad in a magazine; it's about creating a consumer experience to get them to tune in."
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