Making Branded Entertainment Matter

Ex-Hypnotic duo hangs shingle

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%%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%% After managing branded entertainment initiatives at TV and film production company, Hypnotic, Doug Scott and Andy Marks, are scratching their entrepreneurial itches, launching their own independent branded entertainment unit.

The duo is calling their new venture Matter and look to separate themselves from the pack with a business model that focuses on stressing the vital importance of fully leveraging an entertainment property with a holistic, integrated marketing program.

Matter's ultimate aim is to create annuity revenue from backend profit participation that comes along with ownership. Their approach will also be platform agnostic, mining opportunities across all entertainment platforms, including TV, film, music, gaming, and wireless.

"One of the key differentiators for us is execution, which, in our opinion, is lacking in a holistic sense in these programs," said Marks. "Bringing together entertainment content and a well-conceived integrated marketing program [around it] is rare."

Matter's current development slate includes a TV project based on a successful videogame as well as a branded comic book project with possible extensions across multiple media.

Scott and Marks, while at Hypnotic, tasted success with such programs as the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival and the multi-platform "Terry Tate, Office Linebacker" program for Reebok. The Terry Tate commercial snagged a Cannes Gold Lion and it was one of the most popular ads during the 2003 Super Bowl. The Internet also played a pivotal role in the program as it aired a series of short films with the same character as the TV ad.

Since leaving Hypnotic last year, the duo have also consulted on various projects. Scott was the executive director for "Diddy Runs The City," the Hip-hop impresario Sean P.Diddy Combs' cause marketing initiative at last Fall's New York City Marathon, which included an MTV special. Brands like Nike received product integration as a part of their investment.

Scott and Marks also produced the "Blender Sessions" at the recent Sundance Film Festival, which integrated brands like Volkswagen and Glaceau(maker of Vitamin Water).

Marks, who was the exec VP-brand partnerships at Hypnotic, joined the company in May of 2000, when the company was known as Scott, who had collaborated with Marks before at the Hollywood Stock Exchange, joined Marks at Hypnotic in 2001. He was exec VP-marketing and branded entertainment creative director at Hypnotic.

%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% Hypnotic, formed by feature-film director Doug Liman("Swingers" and "The Bourne Identity") and television executive Dave Bartis, was recently sold to American Vantage Media Corp. Hypnotic currently has a television development and production deal with Warner Bros. Television.

Matter's arrival on the scene adds to the growing legion of independent players in the branded entertainment space, which includes companies like Integrated Entertainment Partners, led by Mitch Kanner,Rich Frank, and Skip Brittenham, and Entertainment Marketing Partners, with Mark and Erik Stroman.

While not having the imprimatur of hundreds of millions of media dollars that comes with being aligned with a Madison Avenue holding company, neutrality offers these entrepreneurs greater freedom in working with a wider array of brands and content creators.

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