New KTG Buzz Chief Has Nose For Publicity

While working on the debut of Meow TV for Meow Mix cat food in May 2003, Erin Johnson reached back to the past for ideas and found a wellspring in her experience in publicity for Miramax.

Johnson, 32—who recently was tapped to launch a unit for The Kaplan Thaler Group called KTG Buzz—understands how to organize a movie premiere. So she was a key player in helping her agency at the time, Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners in New York, plan one for Meow TV, a show aimed at cats. Among the 500 “influencers” whom she arranged to walk the red carpet at a New York promo: Sandra Bernhard and The Sopranos’ Vincent Pastore (“Big Pussy”).

While Meow TV was short-lived, Johnson’s ideas and experience in executing them were among the reasons that Kaplan Thaler Group hired her to help launch KTG Buzz as director of the unit. The goal is to give structure to the creation of integrated ideas that provide “buzz” for clients, said Johnson.

“I adore [KB+P co-chairman] Richard Kirshenbaum and anyone who worked for him is OK with me,” said Linda Kaplan Thaler, CEO of her New York-based Publicis Groupe shop. “[Johnson’s] work with Meow TV and other things she’s been associated with have created a lot of buzz.”

“The agency is known for creating ‘big-bang’ ideas, and I’m excited about working with people who have a vision about the potential of nontraditional advertising,” said Johnson, who reports to both Kaplan Thaler and the shop’s managing director of corporate communications, Tricia Kenney (who is on maternity leave). Two KTG Buzz staffers report to Johnson.

The Oakdale, N.Y., native comes to KTG Buzz, here, after six years as director of corporate communications at MDC Partners’ KB+P, where she worked with clients such as Verizon Super Pages and The New York Yankees. Before that, she was at Miramax, working on promos for films like Sling Blade and Scream 2.