Brand Arc Takes Side of Marketers

LOS ANGELES The former executive director of JWT brand-integration division Amplify today launched independent firm Brand Arc, according to the agency. Toyota Motor Sales has signed on as its first client.

Brand Arc, based in Santa Monica, Calif., crafts “brand entertainment initiatives from concept through final execution,” said founder Rob Donnell in a statement. “Our focus will be not only new TV and film opportunities, but we’ll also be looking for ways to integrate [clients] into music, video gaming, fashion, sports and the Internet.”

The firm would not only develop projects, he said, but also manage and execute them and serve as the primary contact between clients and the entertainment industry.

The difference between Brand Arc and other integration firms, Donnell said, is significant. “We’re going to represent brands, be on the side of the brand,” he said of his agency, which currently employs two full-time staff members. “In this whole arena, there are too many people on the side of taking a commission.”

He also noted that his might be the first branded-entertainment agency to be opened by an ex-advertising executive. “As far as I know, most come from the entertainment side,” he said.

As the firm’s flagship client, Toyota has supplied Brand Arc with a cast of 40 vehicles to be featured in film, TV and events. The agency has already completed its initial project with the car company, Donnell said, via an appearance in Revolution Studio’s upcoming baseball comedy, The Benchwarmers.

In its endeavors with Toyota, Donnell said Brand Arc expects to work closely with the client’s lead agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles, media buyer Zenith and consultant Rich Frank of The Firm. A fee structure was not disclosed.

As founder and executive director of JWT’s Amplify in Detroit and Los Angeles, Donnell was responsible for incorporating Ford and other clients into (at the time) non-traditional ad venues such as movies, TV shows, video games and music videos.

Prior to launching Amplify in 2000, Donnell spent three years as creative director and senior partner of JWT Digital in Detroit. He earlier served as creative director and vice president of JWT’s Detroit advertising division from 1987-97.

Donnell said he planned to forge partnerships with additional clients and expand his employee roster “in the near future.”

“Right now, ” he said, “We’re eagerly awaiting the upfronts.”