Earlier this year, Ryan Seacrest partnered with Ford for its “Random Acts of Fusion Campaign,” a transmedia effort to promote the 2013 Ford Fusion. Now with the recent acquisition of New York-based marketing services agency Civic Entertainment Group (CEG) through his company Seacrest Global Group (SGG), the multi-hyphenate magnate aims to connect brands with Hollywood and perhaps create original branded content.
Like the late Dick Clark, whose career he makes no secret of emulating, Seacrest is an entertainer who wears many hats–American Idol host; NBC News’ Today show correspondent; and, of course, host of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, which he also executive produces. Through Ryan Seacrest Productions, Seacrest produces Keeping Up with the Kardashians as well as its various spin-offs, and other reality series, such as Bravo’s Shahs of Sunset and E!’s Married to Jonas.
Seacrest also has several projects at various stages of development, including Food Fight with Paramount Pictures, a TV version of the book Nanny Diaries, and a game show based on the popular Zynga game Draw Something.
When the television and radio personality initially approached CEG, the company’s cofounders/CEOs Stuart Ruderfer and David Cohn were “immediately intrigued,” according to Ruderfer. “Ryan has this unique vision for building the new model, the next generation media and entertainment brand business,” says Ruderfer. “What it means for us is we can have a combination of Hollywood access with first-class marketing services.”
For his part, Seacrest says he was attracted to CEG because of its “consistent track record of business success.” Specifically, CEG was responsible for overseeing the marketing campaign for the launch of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, including a series of 1920s-era events, as well as other creative marketing services for brands such as A&E, CNN, ESPN, History, NFL, and Southwest Airlines. The 12-year-old company specializes in experiential marketing campaigns that blur the line between marketing and entertainment.
“For History, the cable channel, we had the world’s largest smoker and grill cooking 2,000 hot dogs around the country,” Ruderfer says, as an example of one of their experiential marketing campaigns. “The idea was to help History reach out to its audience and provide a live experience with the brand that hopefully adds to their viewing experience.”
The company has also created restaurant spaces for CNN, the CNN Grill, and a bar and lounge, the Southwest Porch, for Southwest Airlines.
Although Ruderfer and Cohn will continue to head up the day-to-day operations at CEG, Ruderfer said they would rely on Seacrest’s “advice and counsel and access to resources.”
Since both SGG and CEG have expertise in live events, there will likely be an increased focus on them going forward.
“Live events are exciting television, and they repeatedly draw big audiences year-after-year,” says Seacrest. “My production company is interested in stepping up its capabilities in this aspect of the business, which I think is also an area that Civic could potentially be involved with given their expertise with marketing large-scale events.”
Entertainment and marketing will continue to converge, according to Seacrest, and creating entertaining content is key. “There is so much noise in the marketplace for both content creators and marketers that it increasingly makes sense for these two disciplines to dovetail in interesting ways,” says Seacrest.
[Crowd Image: Flickr user Haags Uitburo]