You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Initiative initiates branding division

Cohen tapped to lead expansion

Media buyer Initiative Worldwide has launched a division devoted to branded entertainment, tapping former ABC and NBC marketing exec Alan Cohen to lead the expansion.

Cohen will serve as exec VP and managing partner for the U.S. branch of Initiative Innovations. Unit, which has been operating for several years in Europe, will focus on finding new programming and marketing opportunities for Initiative clients beyond the usual 30-second commercial.

Initiative CEO Alec Gerster said the division “has been an invaluable resource for us globally.”

As viewers begin to tune out traditional spots, whether through digital video recorders like TiVo or via alternative entertainment resources, advertisers have been aggressively seeking new ways to get their message across.

Media buyer Mindshare North America struck a deal with ABC last year to produce shows for the Alphabet net, which eventually led to last summer’s “The Days.” Ad giant Omnicom launched a unit, led by Robert Reisenberg, to create TV programming as platforms for its clients.

J. Walter Thompson also recently announced it was looking to work closely with Hollywood, while Carat Americas earlier this month launched Carat Entertainment, run by Michael Yudin, to develop branded entertainment properties. Independent companies like Tom Mazza and Jak Severson’s Madison Road also aim to merge advertisers with programming.

Cohen most recently was marketing prexy at 20th Century Fox’s film division. Before that, he spent six years at ABC as exec VP of marketing, advertising and promotion.

Cohen had moved to the Alphabet web from NBC, where he spent 14 years, working his way up to exec VP of marketing.

The exec won an Emmy in 1997 for his work on an integrated programming/marketing campaign.

Cohen will be based in Los Angeles, where he’ll focus on developing entertainment opportunities for Initiative clients.

More Scene

  • Dylan O'Brien, Justin Theroux, Angela Bassett,

    Travis Knight on Getting the Call to Direct ‘Bumblebee’: ‘Did You Guys Get The Right Number?’

    “Bumblebee” director Travis Knight admits he couldn’t believe it when Paramount Studios and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura called him two years ago, asking him to helm the upcoming “Transformers” movie. “My initial question was, ‘Did you guys get the right number?'” Knight joked at Sunday’s premiere of “Bumblebee” at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. “You’ve seen [...]

  • Director Peter JacksonWarner Bros. Pictures THEY

    Peter Jackson Talks Transition From 'Hobbit' Movies to World War I Documentary

    Peter Jackson remains a bit astounded at his transition four years ago from the Shire of Middle Earth to the French battlefields of World War I. Jackson introduced his documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” Friday night at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood, four weeks after it aired on Armistice Day on the BBC. [...]

  • Hillary Clinton'Network' play opening night, New

    Hillary Clinton Attends Opening of Broadway's 'Network'

    A 1976 film might not be expected to translate seamlessly to Broadway in 2018, but for the cast and creative team behind “Network,” which premiered Thursday night with Hillary Clinton in the audience, the story still feels uncomfortably close to home. “It was a satire then, and now it’s documentary realism,” said Lee Hall, who [...]

  • Children's Defense Fund

    Angela Bassett, Conan O'Brien Honor Young Students at Children's Defense Fund Gala

    Awards season may be right around the corner, but on Thursday, Hollywood took a break from the glitz and glam to celebrate five high school students who have excelled academically despite facing extreme adversity both at home and in the classroom. The 29th annual Beat the Odds Awards ceremony at the Skirball Cultural Center featured [...]

  • Dolly Parton attends the world premiere

    Dolly Parton Hopes to Perform 'Dumplin'' Song at the Golden Globes

    It’s not easy to upstage Jennifer Aniston. But everyone at Thursday night’s premiere of her new Netflix flick, “Dumplin’,” seemed to be singing the praises of Dolly Parton, who earlier in the day received a Golden Globe nomination for “Girl in the Movies,” one of half a dozen new songs she wrote for the film. [...]

  • Lena WaitheVariety's Power of Women, Arrivals,

    Who Lena Waithe Thinks Should Replace Kevin Hart as Oscar Host

    Lena Waithe thinks Kevin Hart could have handled his Oscar debacle in a much better way. “I kind of wish that he would have taken a moment to let it be a teachable moment and to say, ‘Hey, what I said wasn’t right and I want to make that right,’ not just to keep the [...]

  • Christie Brinkley32nd Annual Footwear News Achievement

    Christie Brinkley at 64: 'Women My Age Cannot Allow the Numbers to Define Them'

    Christie Brinkley may be turning 65 next year, but don’t you dare try to tell her what she should — or shouldn’t — wear. “I think women my age cannot allow the numbers to define them. We need to constantly redefine the number,” Brinkley told Variety on Tuesday at the Footwear News Achievement Awards in New [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content