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Biz’s sweet two-way street

Innovative Artists at 25

Need a distinctive voice or face to add gravitas or humor to a commercial, cartoon or print ad? Innovative Artists has provided the voices behind such cultural touchstones as Bart Simpson, SpongeBob and “The Little Mermaid,” and touts an eclectic voice and ad roster ranging from Super Bowl MVPs like Tom Brady to actors including Channing Tatum, Marge Helgenberger and Jason Alexander.

“There’s no stigma anymore,” says VP Marcia Hurwitz, an 11-year Innovative vet who runs the voice-over commercial endorsement department in Los Angeles and who’s adept at placing actors in advertising. “It’s all pros, no cons, as long as you match the right talent with the right job.”

And it’s not a one-way street. Innovative also specializes in grooming faces for an acting career, and vice versa. Agency VP Maury DiMauro, who joined in 1999, runs the beauty division in New York.

DiMauro matched up-and-coming actress Amanda Seyfried with luxury watchmaker Movado and high-end skincare line Cle De Peau, and reports that the latter involved “a very large contract for their first-ever celebrity spokesperson.”

Celebrity endorsements and tie-ins with film and TV stars “helps with everything from TV ratings to brand marketing,” DiMauro says. He and Hurwitz cite Ashley Greene, whose high-profile DKNY campaign overseas has helped expand feature film opportunities, and her “Twilight” co-star Kellan Lutz, whose Calvin Klein profile “also helped open a lot of doors,” he says.

This approach is helped by the company’s one-stop shop service ability. “Working under one roof really helps as we cover all the areas and can leverage all the opportunities that arise, from cartoon series to movies to CD-ROM games,” Hurwitz says. “That’s why we now also have a branding and licensing department, headed by Maggie Dumais. It’s a very lucrative area — and growing daily.”

Dumais, who works closely with agent Mary Dorris, says she’s seen “huge changes” in branding and licensing over the past two decades. “The old traditional model is gone, and with the Internet we’re now almost reverse-engineering properties,” she says. “So instead of trying to develop a property and find consumers, we can see what they’re already attaching themselves to.”

Innovative Artists at 25
Lean, keen and scrappy | Gotham pros build strong stage roots for versatile thesps | Agency turns below-the-liners into high-profilers | Web’s cusp runneth over | Biz’s sweet two-way street

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