Pier 3, Starcom team for movie marketing


NEW DELHI -- Entertainment marketing in India and China is the focus of an alliance inked Friday between L.A.-based Pier 3 Entertainment and Mumbai-based Starcom MediaVest Group Asia, a part of the Publicis Group, the world's fourth-largest communications group.

Pier 3 is known for placing AOL in "You've Got Mail" and Google in "The Da Vinci Code," while Starcom is known for placing WorldSpace Satellite Radio in the Indian comedy hit "Keep Going Munnabhai" and the Singapore Tourism Board in the superhero caper "Krrish."

Under the alliance, SMG entertainment marketing unit Starcom Entertainment will work with Pier 3 to place clients' brands in films, television and other media across various platforms in all of Asia.

"Many of our clients in the U.S. are now looking for entertainment marketing opportunities in India and China," Pier 3 president Thomas Loversky said. "We are looking forward to cross-leveraging Pier 3 Entertainment's decade-plus experience in Hollywood and Starcom Entertainment's Asian experience and relationships."

For three years, SMG has built a practice by embedding marketing in entertainment in India and the Philippines, a business that "is rapidly emerging as one of the surest ways of connecting with today's time-starved and attention-challenged consumers," said Ravi Kiran, the company's CEO for specialist solutions, Asia.

"As we prepare to roll out the solution across Asia, particularly the large and attractive Chinese market, it is good to partner with an experienced company such as Pier 3," Kiran said.

Financial terms of the alliance were not revealed.

In November 2006, Propaganda GEM (Global Entertainment Marketing), co-headquartered in Geneva and Los Angeles, also announced plans to establish an India office via an association with Mumbai-based investment bank YES Bank (HR 11/13).

Internationally, Propaganda GEM has worked on product placements in films such as "The Thomas Crown Affair" (Bulgari), "Tomb Raider 2" (Panasonic) and "Mission: Impossible III" (Lamborghini).

But in an interview Friday, Feyo Kolff, Propaganda GEM senior accounts manager said: "The plans to launch the India activities have been put on hold for now. The opportunity is definitely there and it's now mainly a question of first letting our existing European clients expand their business a bit more in India."