Oren Aviv Named Chief Marketing Officer for Fox
Returning to his roots, former top Disney exec Oren Aviv has finalized a deal to run 20th Century Fox's film marketing operation with Tony Sella. He'll serve both as co-president of domestic marketing and chief marketing officer--a newly created title that gives him greater authority.
Aviv joins Fox Feb. 7. Sella shares the title of marketing president, and is chief creative officer.
In the six years that Aviv ran Disney's marketing division, he earned widespread respect, particularly for embracing new media.
Aviv's career path took an unforeseen turn after National Treasure--based on his original idea--became a box office blockbuster. He left marketing to become Disney's president of production, a job he left in January 2010 after Rich Ross took over.
Aviv told The Hollywood Reporter he mulled many options since resigning from Disney, including production and advertising. In the end, he elected to join Fox.
"I didn't say yes to this job to do something other than this job. I love marketing; I always have," Aviv said. "This was a very conscious choice."
Aviv and Sella will report directly to Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen/CEOs Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos.
Late last month, Gianopulos and Rothman announced that Pam Levine, who was co-president of domestic marketing along with Sella, was exiting. Several years ago, Levine moved to New York and it had became increasingly apparent that it wasn't workable to have Levine so far away from the studio lot.
Insiders say Aviv isn't replacing Levine, per se, since he has the combined title of marketing president and chief marketing officer, which brings greater duties. He'll focus on overall strategy, while Sella will handle creative--Sella's particular area of expertise.
Aviv was heavily courted by Fox.
"I think it's what they call a coup. We went out hard to get him," Rothman said in an interview. "He's a seasoned executive who is also an innovator. Those two things are hard to find in one executive."
There's no denying that Fox had a tough 2010 on the marketing side. Domestic campaigns for several films, including Love and Other Drugs and Knight and Day, didn't hit their mark.
Aviv, working with Sella, will help the studio retool and regear.
"We have been longtime leaders in this area and continue to have numerous super talented people at work, but it's a dynamic, changing time in the media universe and evolution is essential. Oren is uniquely suited to take us forward. With him and Tony, we will have the best one-two punch in the business," Rothman and Gianopulos said in their joint statement.
Aviv was president of marketing at Disney from 2000 to 2006, in addition to being named chief creative officer in 2004. During that time, he launched the Pirates of the Caribbean, Chronicles of Narnia and National Treasurefranchises, as well as the popular Step Up series.
Aviv also designed the marketing and creative campaigns for such hits as The Sixth Sense, Finding Nemo, Pearl Harbor, The Incredibles, Ransom, The Rock, Signs, Monsters, Inc., Armageddon, Sister Act, Remember the Titans, Unbreakable, 101 Dalmatians, among hundreds of other films.
"I'm excited to become part of this legendary studio, and to join forces with Tom, Jim and Tony to meet the new challenges of an ever-evolving digital landscape," Aviv said.
Aviv also is an inventor. While at Disney, he and several of his colleagues patented a technology whereby a mobile device can be pointed at an icon and information is decoded.