WPP Agency Looks to Push Into Entertainment Marketing

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NEW YORK ( -- Media services agency Mediaedge:cia has acquired a stake in the Leverage Group, an entertainment marketing company that also works with "cause-related" nonprofit organizations. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Leverage has offices in New York and Los Angeles and was launched in 1999 by Richard Yaffa, who is the company's president. Leverage's client list includes Sony Music, the Tribeca Film Festival, LavaLife, Warner Strategic Marketing and the New York Road Runners Club.

"We are putting our money where our mouth is," said Charles Courtier, worldwide executive chairman of Mediaedge:cia, which is part of WPP Group. "We are acquiring a company that really does entertainment marketing properly. This is the first time a media agency has done this, as opposed to a holding company."

Lagging behind rivals
Mediaedge:cia is somewhat of a latecomer to the entertainment-marketing world. Rival media shop OMD, which is part of Omnicom Group, has dominated the sector, as Omnicom's two high-profile Hollywood shops, Aaron Walton Entertainment and Davie-Brown Entertainment, work closely with OMD.

Interpublic Group of Cos. has its own unit, Interpublic Sports Entertainment Group, that works with clients of Interpublic's other media shops, Magna Global, Universal McCann and Initiative Media. Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group, meanwhile, has an internal entertainment marketing group called SMG Entertainment.

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