Deutsch, Simmons Rap on Joint-Venture Deal

Partnership Intended to Redefine Youth Marketing
NEW YORK–Donny Deutsch and rap impresario Russell Simmons are discussing a joint venture that they hope will “crack the code” of building brands with youth marketing.
Simmons, who built a multimedia empire with street-savvy and guerrilla tactics, is seeking to erase the walls between “mainstream” and “urban” marketing.
“Deutsch is the first company that is really willing to take–balls to the walls–an aggressive attitude” to youth efforts, he said. “With Donny’s infrastructure, there are so many new ways to explore connecting the dots.”
Deutsch emphasized that the deal has not yet been finalized. But Rush Media, Simmons’ ad agency, has moved into the building housing Deutsch, and Rush president Anne Simmons said, “It’s by design, because we’re working on a joint venture.”
“I’ve had tremendous respect for Russell as a business person,” said Deutsch. “The opportunity is huge. No one has cracked this code as far as the youth market.”
Staffing details and the name of the venture are still being ironed out. But sources indicated that Anne Simmons, who is not related to Russell, would play a lead role, and one possible name is dRush.
Simmons is chairman and CEO of Rush Communications, which operates Rush Media, Def Jam Recordings, Phat Fashions and TV show and magazine Oneworld. Simmons’ shop has created ads for Coca-Cola, HBO and ESPN. Its Coke TV spots, such as one with Def Jam artist LL Cool J, tested well among mainstream audiences.
Deutsch has been moving into specialty fields, launching iDeutsch and directDeutsch. This deal would be “a separate joint venture,” Deutsch said.
Praise comes from some; Tony Gomes, who has worked with Rush Media and Deutsch, said: “I think it’s a great premise this is where they’re going to take it to the next level.