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Deal points everyone can understand

U exec Sperber stays grounded

Stephanie Sperber likes to keep things simple. As exec VP of Universal Studios Partnerships, Sperber believes the best pacts are the ones where the goals are easy to understand.

Under Bperber, USP has recently inked multimillion-dollar partnerships with Volkswagen, MasterCard Chase Bank, Burger King and Gibson Guitar — all groundbreaking deals that have earned widespread industry praise for their breadth and creativity.

For example, Volkswagen has first dibs to place its cars in U films plus NBC and sister outlet TV shows, as well as promote its product on DVDs and at U’s theme parks; MasterCard is officially dubbed the preferred card across all conglom platforms; and Gibson Guitar inked a 10-year deal to have the Universal Amphitheater renamed Gibson Amphitheater.

While many execs use the corporate argot of consumer impressions, rate-per-thousand and media exposure as yardsticks for success, Sperber also uses a simpler, more pragmatic measurement: “When the partner wants to renew the deal, that is a good sign the relationship is working well,” says Sperber.

It’s a particularly propitious time for those involved in the intersecting of Hollywood and Madison Avenue. Studios, talents agencies and corporate America are all seeking lucrative and effective alternatives to traditional advertising.

But in the midst of this mad scramble for dollars and endorsements, Sperber is grounded.

“Stephanie is very calm and very gracious,” says Rob Senn, the former chief operating officer for Gibson and architect of the amphitheater naming deal. “She brings an intelligent elegance to a process that is usually very chaotic.”

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