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Omnicom’s Content Collective Lures Rachel Baumgarten From Viacom

Omnicom Media Group’s Content Collective, an agency that specializes in marrying advertisers pitches with content, has hired Rachel Baumgarten, a veteran of Viacom’s advertising ranks, as its new managing director, making her a deputy to Claudia Cahill, who leads the unit.

Baumgarten had been senior vice president of integrated marketing for Viacom’s Music & Entertainment Group, a division that includes cable networks like MTV and VH1.  In that role, she worked extensively with Pepsi, one of Omnicom’s most significant clients, devising ways to weave the soda maker into events like the annual “MTV Video Music Awards.” At Omnicom, she will have the opportunity to work with advertisers such as Apple and Procter & Gamble.

Many advertisers today “are really breaking new ground using technology and different forms of content creation,” said Baumgarten in an interview. “I really wanted the opportunity” to work with new methods and media venues, she added.

Her hire comes as Cahill, chief content officer of Omnicom Media Group, anticipates a swell of interest in weaving advertising into content. Late last year, Pepsi was embedded in the Fox drama “Empire,” making its flagship brand part of a three-episode plotline that culminated in a commercial featuring a character from the program. She expects more advertisers will attempt to create commercials that look a lot like the TV programs they support, and then flank those vignettes with content distributed via social media. “How do we create content on an ongoing basis to have a consistent dialogue with consumers?” asked Cahill.

Cahill expects to place more focus on working on ways to put clients into shows as they are being developed, rather than after they are unveiled by networks in May at TV’s annual upfront market, when the TV outlets try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory. “We are trying to get in front of these opportunities before they get to the upfront,” said Cahill. “There are shows in development we can potentially integrate into our upfront negotiations.”

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