SMG Play Duo Spreads Gaming Gospel

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Names: Tim Harris and P.J. MacGregor

Ages: Both are 30.

Who they are: VP-directors SMG Play, the gaming-as-marketing-platform unit of Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group.

Where they're from: Before launching Play, Harris and MacGregor both joined SMG's interactive unit Starcom IP in 1999. Collectively they've worked on brands including Miller Brewing and Coca-Cola. Prior to Starcom, Harris worked at as director of advertising while MacGregor did a two-year stint in sales at E! Entertainment Television.

What they've done: Both "crazy idiot" gamers themselves, the duo launched Play last summer to leverage an untapped arena from consoles to wireless applications. "We were seeing a beloved entertainment vehicle that was being completely underutilized by marketers." So far in the first year, no client has questioned that they have to be in the space, the "challenge has been to figure out how."

%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% What's next: "Product placement and signage opportunities within gaming has its place, but we're really focusing in on how to activate customer experiences, underwrite content, activate the connected-console space, and get into episodic programming."

Stock-in-trade: "We're kind of a hybrid group between transactional people and creative people; we're well positioned between brand creatives and game developers."

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