New York-based independent media shop R.J. Palmer is launching a branded entertainment practice and has hired Frances Croke Page, a well-regarded veteran in the field, to run it as vp, director of entertainment media.
Before launching a consultancy in 2008, Page was a senior executive at Interpublic Group's Magna Global Entertainment, where she led strategy on behalf of IPG clients and developed integration ideas in connection with TV series such as NBC's The Restaurant and Bravo's Blowout. She also served as executive producer for the Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation film series that aired on TNT.
Previously, Page served as vp, group supervisor on the Coca-Cola account at IPG's Universal McCann, where she oversaw branded entertainment initiatives involving Fox's American Idol, among other projects.
In addition to J&J and Coke, Page has handled branded content duties for American Express, Bank of America, Kellogg's, Lowe's Home Improvement, Campbell Soup, RadioShack, Pizza Hut and others. Earlier, she was with BBDO and held posts in local TV sales.
While consumers tend to be familiar with big TV integrations, like Coke on Idol or AT&T on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Page stressed that she'd explore a range of ideas -- large and small -- with clients, depending on their needs.
"You can spend a little less money and be just as creative, still be noticed and make some interesting points with consumers" in the branded content space, she said. And it's possible to achieve that goal across numerous channels, including both local and national TV, print, digital and even radio, she said.
Peter Knobloch, CEO at Palmer, said "there is a clear need" for the shop's new branded entertainment unit, based on feedback from clients.
The two execs have known each other "forever," according to Knobloch. About a year ago, they began exploring the idea of her joining the agency and talks turned serious a few months ago. "We just kept talking, found a solution and she's here," said Knobloch.
Key Palmer clients including Boehringer Ingelheim (the pharma giant) and Perdue Farms have indicated they intend to work with the agency in the branded content space, said Knobloch. And there is "very positive reaction" from other clients such as shoe marketer DSW, Foster Grant and Sylvania, he said.
"We're working through the client list to try to identify a variety of projects to work on and then we go from there," Knobloch said.
See also: "ZO Goes Global With Branded Entertainment"