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Marketing maven has new haven

Ammer nabs prexy title at Col TriStar

After weeks of negotiations, Geoffrey Ammer has decided to leave his marketing post at Revolution Studios for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Ammer will hold the title of president of marketing for the Columbia TriStar marketing group. Announcement was made Wednesday by Jeff Blake, president of worldwide marketing and distribution for the studio’s motion picture group.

Ammer will assume his position Sept. 4 and report directly to Blake. Ammer will supervise all areas of Sony’s domestic marketing, and all domestic marketing personnel will report to him — except creative advertising — the one area that has created so many headaches for the studio in recent months.

Sony marketing found itself in the glare of the spotlight this summer when two marketing gaffes were disclosed: The studio’s creative advertising department had invented a critic (David Manning) to lavish praise on Sony movies and a Revolution Studios release and, a week later, it was discovered that Sony had used two of its marketing employees to pose as customers for a glowing testimonial TV ad.

Two creative advertising executives, senior exec veepee Josh Goldstine and junior executive Matthew Cramer, were suspended for 30 days over the Manning flap.

Blake declared in June that the studio would “put in place concrete new policies and procedures that … will make it a concrete policy not to use this form of advertising in the future” (Daily Variety, June 15).

No more shuffling

Blake maintains that no further marketing exec changes will come as a result of Ammer’s arrival.

Asked specifically whether Goldstine, who returned from his suspension July 10, would be staying on under the soon-to-be-reorganized department, he answered: “This is the team. Josh is a terrific executive, and he’s staying.”

According to sources familiar with the company, Goldstine is contractually guaranteed responsibility for creative advertising at Sony and will continue to report to Blake.

In a statement, Blake said Ammer’s coming from Revolution, in which Sony owns a 7.5% stake, “only serves to make Geoff’s arrival easier; we look forward to a smooth transition and are really pleased to bring him onboard.”

Ammer, who is heading off for a week’s vacation before joining Sony, called Blake “one of the most straightforward and honest executives in the business” and added he was “thrilled for the opportunity to join his team.”

Prior to joining Revolution, Ammer served as co-president of marketing in the Buena Vista Motion Picture Group at the Walt Disney Co. Before joining Disney, Ammer spent 14 years in the movie marketing department at 20th Century Fox.

Revolutionary split

Meanwhile, at Revolution, partner Tom Sherak said the mini-major will split the duties of marketing between two execs that will soon be hired — one for domestic marketing, one for international. Ammer previously had been responsible for worldwide marketing.

Sherak declined to identify candidates for the job but noted that he expected to fill the international marketing position by week’s end. Revolution’s search for a domestic marketing topper will start today.

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