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Chan, Foreman team for grill endorsement

Appliance ad campaign to hit China, Japan, Korea

Take a great idea and build on it.

That’s been the story of entertainment attorney Sam Perlmutter and his partnership with heavyweight champ George Foreman and the Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine.

Perlmutter’s clients include producers Avi Lerner and Moshe Diamant, and he has acted as exec producer on several films, including “The Fourth War,” “No Good Deed” and “Redline.” But it’s his 17-year partnership with Foreman on those ubiquitous grills that continues to grow in new directions.

Hoping to spread the magic to Asia, Foreman and Jackie Chan just finished shooting an East-meets-West infomercial in Hong Kong.

“The Asian market doesn’t know George well, but they know hamburgers and they know Jackie,” says Perlmutter, who came up with the pairing of the grill and the boxing champ in 1994.

Back then, instead of paying Foreman a salary, appliance manufacturer Salton made an unprecedented deal with Foreman for 45% of the profits. Perlmutter, as Foreman’s partner, also got a share.

In 1999, with the grill at iconic status, Salton bought out the partnership, paying Foreman and Perlmutter almost $140 million for rights to Foreman’s name in perpetuity. “Most of it went to George,” says Perlmutter, “But I did very well, too.”

Flash forward to 2006.

The only market the grill has not penetrated is Asia. Chan was looking for endorsement opportunities, and after months ironing out conflicting schedules, the filming of the infomercial came together.

The launch of the ad campaign in China is planned for August, with Japanese and Korean versions to follow.

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