A Madison + Vine Report


Move Creates Stronger Branded Entertainment Shop

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The principals of Integrated Entertainment Partners, the branded entertainment company launched last year, are joining the Beverly Hills-based talent
Mitch Kanner and partners from IEP will join The Firm.
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management and entertainment concern The Firm, according to the companies.

Both enterprises are heavily involved in negotiating deals that combine entertainment and advertising in new ways.

"The Firm-IEP merger is the nexus of the intersection of talent, creative and strategic marketing expertise -- bringing the notion of [the convergence of entertainment and advertising] into reality," said Mitch Kanner of IEP. "This merger offers a unique environment that places consumer brand marketers into direct dialogue with the most important creative talent and 'influencers' in the world."

IEP's Rich Frank, the former chairman of Walt Disney Television, will serve as chairman of the board, a newly created post at The Firm. Jeff Kwatinetz, The Firm's founder-CEO, and Rick Yorn, partner, will remain co-chairman. Mr. Frank will consult with The Firm's top members on strategic issues as the entertainment and marketing communities draw closer together. He will also focus on developing the company's TV and film initiatives under the aegis of Firm Films, run by Julie Yorn.

Mr. Kanner, an early advocate of merging advertising and entertainment into new forms that serve both industries, will work closely with Dave Baram, The Firm's president and chief operating officer, to help the company leverage its relationships with both talent and brand marketers. The Firm has also been involved in owning consumer brands targeted at the 18- to 24-year-old youth market. IEP's Chris Gebhardt, a Madison Avenue veteran, also comes on board to buttress The Firm's branded entertainment efforts.

"Our experiences with consumer brands like Pony and Virgin have demonstrated that one of the strongest growth areas for The Firm will continue to be with our brand division. Rich, Mitch and Chris will help accelerate that growth and will add enormous value to our efforts to acquire additional brands and service our existing brand clients," Mr. Baram said in a statement.

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