STARSTRUCK: FCB Wins $30-Mil. MGM Biz With a Bi-coastal Pitch Team

A former acquaintance from Orion and a bi-coastal cast of agency characters set the stage for Foote, Cone & Belding to win the $30-million MGM media account. FCB’s L.A. office snared the business, which could grow considerably in 1994 when MGM is expected to take over distribution for Carolco Pictures, from nine-year incumbent Wells Rich Greene BDDP after a two-month review. The review was called when a new marketing team joined the Culver City, Calif.-based movie studio.
The MGM team – executive vp Ashley Boone, evp/marketing Bob Dingilian and Mary Flatlie, vp/media who was formerly at Ogilvy & Mather/L.A., also included evp/worldwide advertising Tami Masuda, a former Orion executive who worked with Foote, Cone until the agency lost the account when the studio filed Chapter 11 about a year ago.
Since then, FCB retained many of the staffers who worked on that account. A team of network and spot buyers based in N.Y. joined L.A. media director Bill Evans, group management director Gary Elliott, senior vp/director of marketing Tom Somerset, Rich Edler, managing director of the L.A. office and coo/North America Jack Balousek, who spearheaded the pitch.
FCB made a three-part presentation that culminated with an assignment to develop a media and promotion plan for MGM’s February release of Untamed Heart, a love story starring Christian Slater. Heart is the first movie project FCB will handle with its new assignment.
Incumbent Wells Rich will handle the Jan. 15 release of Body of Evidence starring Willem Dafoe and Madonna.
MGM’s recent history has been troubled – a debt of almost $2 billion hangs over the studio – and McKinsey & Co. was brought in to evaluate the operation. It has since revamped its movie lineup with a focus on bigger-budget, star-driven films, and currently has 12-14 such new releases in the pipeline for 1993.
‘We’re obviously delighted to get back into the entertainment business,’ said Edler.
Though FCB disbanded the newspaper operation it kept in N.Y. when it lost Orion, Edler said the agency has stayed in touch with ‘key people,’ and plans to re-establish the department.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)