Lori Sale loves playing matchmaker just as much as she’s obsessed with playing poker. But what she’s become a pro at pairing isn’t people, it’s consumer brands with Hollywood.
As head of global branded entertainment at ICM, Sale is connecting the agency’s clients and properties with marketers looking to court consumers.
She recently enticed Dove to fund part of and promote “The Women,” Diane English’s remake of George Cukor’s classic, a rare case of a brand financing a film. She also connected Samsung with Beyonce, and she linked Slim-Fast with BBC Worldwide’s “Dancing With the Stars” after contestants bragged about the weight they lost doing the show. Slim-Fast wound up on air and sponsored a tour, book and DVD.
Because she’s at an agency, Sale says she’s able to get marketers involved much earlier in the development process to make those deals, rather than when a project is almost completed, as when she served as liaison between corporate America and Harvey Weinstein’s film and TV projects at the Weinstein Co. and Miramax before that.
“I can start that dialogue much earlier now,” she says, which is key, because the end result benefits both sides. “You literally have to become business partners.”
Of her position at ICM, which she took last year, Sale asserts that “identifying the right fit for an intellectual property and then going out to find that one right brand is a great deal of fun to orchestrate.”
As for her love of poker, the game does factor in with Sale’s day job. “You make the best of the cards that you’re dealt,” she says. “You want that to be the winning hand. Sometimes, on behalf of your clients, you have to go all in. If it works, great; if it doesn’t, you move on to the next one.”
Vocation: Head of global branded entertainment, ICM
Recent breakthrough: Getting Dove to co-finance and promote “The Women,” Slim-Fast to tie in with “Dancing With the Stars,” Samsung to back Beyonce.
Role model: “My mother.”
Career mantra: “Do it first, apologize later.”
What’s next: “Running for a plane.”