Ernest Lupinacci, creative director and co-founder of 19-month old Anomaly, has announced he'll depart the agency to devote more of his time to pursuing branded content ventures through his self-propelled new venture, Ernest Industries. Lupinacci has allied himself with Plum TV, which broadcasts local TV channels in and about such places as Vail, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and the Hamptons.
Lupinacci says he leaves Anomaly on good terms and may continue to work on projects with the agency. "To some degree, I've had a kind of, 'How you gonna keep them down on the farm after they've seen Paree' thing," says Lupinacci. "I've worked with so many development people and media execs and I've always been attracted to that part of the business. So when the opportunity presented itself I knew this was what I really wanted to focus on."
Lupinacci says he's looking to pursue branded content ventures that bring to bear his brand insights, honed over several years of poring over briefs as a freelancer, rather than engage in "a more sophisticated name for product placement," which is how he sees much of the existing work in this area. Lupinacci will pursue branded content initiatives for Plum on many fronts-including looking at shows already in development and identifying the right brand participant, and, more proactively, shaping properties around brands he wants to work with. He says that the opportunity to work with Plum co-founder and creative director Cary Woods, and be aligned with a content producer and distributor was what prompted the career move. He also says he and Woods will work on projects on an "incubator" basis-the pair will simply produce content they feel strongly about and, well, see what happens. "It's part of my motto, 'Easier done than said,' " says Lupinacci.
Woods is a well-known producer with what Lupinacci describes as "one of the most amazing batch of films," including So I Married an Axe Murderer, Kids and Rudy to his credit. "The opportunity to be in business with the distribution channel was hard to resist," Lupinacci adds.
Anomaly is currently seeking a replacement for its outgoing creative director.