New company aims to blend advertising and entertainment

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"Imagine your audiences being completely entertained for 30 minutes, without any clue it is all paid-for advertising," says Peter Gird of Media 2.0, illustrating the innovative concept of "advertising-funded entertainment."

That's what 2.0 aims to provide -- and its founders, Gird and Jason Xenopoulos, are probably as well qualified as anyone to deliver. Gird spent 12 years heading Ogilvy & Mather's production division before setting up his eponymous production entity in 1991; he has worked with such South African directors as Ian Gabriel ("Forgiveness") and Suno Gonera ("Pride"). Xenopoulos founded one of South Africa's leading Web development companies and has made features like 2002's "Promised Land."

The duo are proponents of a new form of production known as Madison & Vine, branded entertainment that aims to marry the film and advertising worlds.

"By combining knowledge of the advertising and entertainment industries and embracing technology and new media we aim to provide content solutions that are outside of the ordinary," Gird says.

Adds Xenopoulos: "2.0 allows us to offer a unique and multidisciplinary production solution for those who want to leverage the tremendous growth opportunities arising out of the increasingly techno-smart new media. Marketers have realized that the best way to avoid oblivion is to build their brands into the fabric of entertainment."
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