CAA Installs Creative Chief For Branded Entertainment

As co-executive creative director at Publicis & Hal Riney, Jae Goodman often stayed up into the wee hours of the morning writing long-format ideas for clients. But after more than two years trying to sell them on branded entertainment ideas with some success, Goodman is taking a more direct route to making those deals happen. The 36-year old copywriter is leaving the San Francisco agency at the end of this week to join CAA Marketing, the marketing arm of Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency, as creative director.

“These are the ideas that keep me up at night. This is an opportunity to do that full-time,” said Goodman, who is moving to Los Angeles in the coming weeks to begin working at the Beverly Hills agency Aug. 1. “I like the role of ecd, but what I am most excited about is content and the collision of advertising and entertainment.”

While CAA has a history of shaking up Madison Avenue—its famed Coca-Cola “Always” advertising of the ’90s being an example—Goodman stressed the new position is in no way about creating advertising, but simply helping clients create content in whatever form it takes, from the development of a TV show to a high-end concert series. “We are not making ads,” he said. “That’s not the business that CAA is in. There is an entire industry doing a great job at that.”

Lenny Stern, head of CAA Marketing and a partner at New York-based strategic communications firm SS+K, concurred. “It’s about turning marketing into entertainment and turning entertainment into marketing,” Stern said.

CAA conducted a wide search to fill the new position, said Stern. Goodman’s work over the course of his 13-year agency career demonstrates “a unique mix of skills,” he said, that can help CAA create new forms of marketing for its diverse client roster, which includes Visa, Delta, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Sprint, Abercrombie & Fitch and Starwood Hotels, among others. “He is as passionate about entertainment as he is about creativity in the context of advertising,” explained Stern. “He is a guy who has really rolled up his sleeves and gotten involved with interesting brand integration projects.”

As co-ecd of Riney, Goodman, who joined the agency in late 2004 as a group creative director, has worked with clients such as Sprint, 24 Hour Fitness and Jamba Juice, but has dedicated much of his recent time to developing nontraditional projects for clients, while his partner, art director Jon Soto, manages much of the day-to-day departmental duties. Managing director Jamie King said the agency will not replace Goodman and that Soto will remain ecd. “This is a good fit for him,” said King of Goodman’s new job.

King added that the agency will continue to work with Goodman in his new role at CAA. The shop is currently shopping a TV show to networks, and Goodman may bring CAA clients into the mix. “It’s a reality show based in fitness, but it will transcend that and be much more about life drama,” described King.

Stern and Goodman said partnerships with varied companies such as ad agencies, client companies, production companies and even other talent agencies are and will continue to be commonplace in the branded entertainment space. The properties that Goodman will help develop could include CAA clients as well as any others that may find participation worthwhile. “The key thing is being open to wild collaboration,” said Goodman. “This is where the playground for me comes in. Suddenly, I have access to the biggest creative department in the world.”

During Goodman’s Riney tenure, the agency worked closely with its client 24 Hour Fitness to create a partnership between the fitness chain and NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Additionally, Goodman, a former account director who began his copywriting career at Wieden + Kennedy on Microsoft, co-created and executive produced the Fox Sports show Fandemonium and created the SMS marketing program American Oddball for Virgin Mobile. “Any time you leave something you love, it’s gut-wrenching,” said Goodman about leaving the agency at the end of this week. “But this is a dream job.”