Media Agency of the Year: A Word From the Client

Veteran movie executive Geoffrey Ammer, president of worldwide marketing for Columbia Tri-Star Motion Picture Group, left Revolution Studios for Sony’s Culver City lot in September 2001, just as parent Sony Corp. was entering the final leg of its media consolidation review. In the 18 months since, he’s seen how Universal McCann works in close-up.

How would you describe Universal?

It is extremely hard working, innovative, relentless in its pursuit of the out of the ordinary. You expect publicity to book talk shows. You expect creative to do trailers. You expect media to put together a plan. But they always try to add that extra push where you least expect it.

What are some examples of that?

For last summer’s XXX, we were trying to figure out how to tie in to the All-Star Game on Fox [a frequent promotional partner]. We came up with the idea of a blimp, and they got a deal where it was the XXX blimp, and Fox actually broadcast out of it. Another example, again with baseball and Fox, was this past World Series, when the California Angels got into the playoffs and we had Charlie’s Angels. They did a deal where we did a special Charlie’s Angels shoot, and we ran a 30-second spot with it. Plus, Fox used all of our footage from the teaser campaign in the opener and repeated it the following week.

UM obviously impressed Sony in the review, because it defended its studio business and won the consolidated account. Why do you think it prevailed?

I look at the individuals who are going to be on my account. It’s not necessarily who has the flashiest presentation, it’s the ones you believe can actually do the work. They have the people you feel most comfortable with handling your business. For me, when I sit down in a room, there’s just a comfort level when I see them walk in the door.