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Guy McCarter, who was director of entertainment at Omnicom’s media buying agency OMD since its U.S. inception in 1999, took on the role of managing director of Green Room Entertainment when Omnicom restructured its branded entertainment offerings this year. Among the branded entertainment deals McCarter has orchestrated is Pepsi’s upcoming integration into “Quarterlife,” the MySpace Web series from “thirtysomething” creators Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick that has been picked up by NBC. McCarter recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter marketing reporter Gail Schiller.
The Hollywood Reporter: Can you tell me about some of your recent branded entertainment deals for clients?
Guy McCarter: We have content integration in “Quarterlife,” and we have exposure on Quarterlife.com, the social networking site. Pepsi will be featured in multiple Web episodes and a two-episode arc on NBC. Pepsi is in the story line, and our integrated episodes will air before the end of the year. We’re integrated into the Quarterlife.com site, with Pepsi giving consumers the opportunity to design their own cans. The site is there to help promote the arts and to help creative people get a start in their creative pursuits.
THR: Did you need to negotiate a separate deal with NBC because the show will air on the network as well?
McCarter: We didn’t need to negotiate a separate deal, but we knew there was the potential for NBC to pick up the show, so it was factored into our valuation.
THR: Any other recent branded entertainment initiatives?
McCarter: We did a deal with Nivea and “The Tyra Banks Show” when Nivea was launching the Goodbye Cellulite cream earlier this year. The audience members used the anti-cellulite cream for about six weeks. We did an episode where the results were shown. The integration dramatically impacted sales.
THR: Do you work closely with the media buyers at OMD and PHD or with Robert Riesenberg’s Full Circle Entertainment, which I understand is also a part of OMG’s sports and entertainment group?
McCarter: For TV deals that are media leveraged, that need a media spend behind them, we’ll work with the investment teams at OMD and PHD to get those deals done. But a lot of the deals we’ll do are film deals or music-based deals that don’t involve media buying, and then obviously we don’t need to work with the buyers. At Green Room Entertainment, we provide consultancy and strategy, but we’re not producing our own content. That’s where Robert (Riesenberg) lives. When Robert is taking out a property, we get a first look. We’ll take it to our clients and, more broadly, all the clients of OMD and PHD.
THR: Where do you see branded entertainment headed in the future?
McCarter: I see more moving to the Web as more original content is being produced. I think there are opportunities for both brand integration and for custom content to be developed for brands. If you look at what’s happening this year with the broadcast networks — where they’re effectively sold out of commercial time due to declining ratings — my sense is the networks may look more closely at doing straight integration deals.
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