Mark Gage Stroman, the entertainment advertising strategist who was an early hire at the fledging Fox Broadcasting Co., died Feb. 22 due to complications from COVID. He was 58.
Stroman, who most recently served as chief marketing officer of Spin Media, had a long career in advertising and marketing. After beginning his career at KOFY-TV in San Francisco, where he was born and raised, Stroman was hired as one of the original 35 employees for the Fox Broadcasting Co. team when Rupert Murdoch boldly launched the nation’s fourth broadcast network in 1986.
During his 16-year tenure at Fox and News Corp, Stroman worked with major national brands such as Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Polaroid, Levi’s, Sprint and Visa to create promotions for the company. He also played a major part in launching ad campaigns for several Fox shows such as “Family Guy,” “Married… with Children,” “America’s Most Wanted,” “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Melrose Place” and “The X-Files,” and spearheaded the “Nobody Better Lay a Finger On My Butterfinger!” campaign for “The Simpsons.” Stromon was later promoted to senior vice president of national promotions at News Corp; in this role he designed and developed the integrated media and marketing group News Corp One.
Stroman would later found the marketing division of the talent agency Endeavor, along with his twin brother Erik Stroman. During his time at Endeavor, Mark Stroman worked with several large clients Maserati, the CW, Jet Blue, UPN, Hallmark Channel, Activision-Blizzard, 20th Century Fox and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions. He and his brother would later leave Endeavor to form their own company Entertainment Marketing Partners, where he executive produced multiple Fox New Year’s Eve specials and executed campaigns for big-budget video game franchises, including Tony Hawk, “Call of Duty” and “Guitar Hero.” The Stromans sold the company to Omnicom in 2006. Mark Stroman next spent a decade working for McGhee Entertainment, overseeing promotions and campaigns for the rock band KISS.
“The first time I met Mark was during our Kiss Halloween concert that aired live on FOX in 1998,” McGhee Entertainment CEO Doc McGhee said in a statement. “It was easy to recognize his marketing genius. He was always the funniest and smartest person in the room, with the unique ability to bring everyone together. Mark was the rock star of marketing. He was a great friend to me and my family. He will be missed more than words can express.”
Stroman was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Reggie Awards from the Association of National Advertisers. He also served as chairman for the board of directors of Promax, the world’s largest promotion and marketing trade association, twice. He also was active in philanthropic work, including serving on the board for the T.J. Martell Foundation.
Stroman is survived by his brother Erik, his sister, Gwenn, and two nephews.