Thank You Network(SM) Advances Rewards Programs to Another Level

First Reward Program to Include Contemporary Art from One of America’s Preeminent Pop Icons, As Part of its Rewards Collection

NEW YORK, NY (May 16, 2007) – In an effort to continuously bring its members the most unique and compelling reward offerings available, ThankYou Rewards Network today announces the beginning of a special relationship with world-renowned artist Peter Max. As the first artist associated with ThankYou Network, Peter Max makes his popular artwork accessible to all 11 million ThankYou Members, including limited edition lithographs. 

“I am very pleased to make my artwork accessible to people who previously weren’t able to purchase one of my pieces,” states Peter Max. “Now through ThankYou Network, members will have the chance to redeem their points for some of my most popular work.” 

With paintings on exhibition in hundreds of museums and galleries worldwide, Peter Max and his vibrant colors have become a significant part of contemporary culture. Peter Max has been referred to as a Pop icon, Neo Fauvist, Abstract Expressionist and America’s “Painter Laureate” – having painted for the last six U.S. Presidents. In addition to his work on canvas, Peter Max’s most recent visions have been seen on a Boeing 777 Continental Airlines jet, across a 600-foot stage for Woodstock Music Festival, on the covers of the Verizon New York City yellow and white pages, and on a giant mural unveiled at the 2002 Winter Olympics. He has been designated Official Artist of five Super Bowls, six Grammy Awards, World Cup USA, The World Series, The United Nations Earth Summit, and numerous other events. 

“We are so excited to have the art of Peter Max – who is not only a critically-acclaimed artist, but also someone who has enjoyed broad popular appeal throughout his storied and prolific career – as part of the ThankYou Network rewards collection,” said Nancy Gordon, Executive Vice President, ThankYou Network. “This relationship follows through on our long-standing commitment to our members to continually provide them with exciting and unique reward opportunities that can be appreciated and valued for a lifetime. Now our members can use their ThankYou Points to become art collectors. From Peter Max posters, limited-edition prints or custom portraits, there is a reward option for everyone.” 

As a result of ThankYou Network’s relationship with Peter Max, members can now redeem points, starting at the 32,200 point level, for fine art to begin or expand their own collection. Members can browse the Peter Max collection on the online gallery at www.ThankYou.com which features a range of 18 pieces spanning the past four decades and includes: 

# 2 original works painted in acrylic on canvas
# 10 signed lithograph prints
# 6 posters signed and dedicated to the recipient by Peter Max 

In addition, members with high point levels can take advantage of an exceptional and very limited premium reward opportunity – where they can redeem their ThankYou Points to have Peter Max paint a custom portrait of their dreams. 

ThankYou Network’s relationship with Peter Max was facilitated by The Erlick Group, a New York-based agency that represents leading cultural and entertainment properties.

Citi

Citi, the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Major brand names under Citi’s trademark red arc include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Citi Smith Barney and Banamex. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or www.citi.comg. 

ThankYou Network

Founded by Citi, the ThankYou Network is a free rewards program that lets members earn points from a growing network of places and pool these points into one ThankYou Member Account. Members get points for using participating Citi credit cards, banking at Citibank with an eligible checking account and booking qualified travel on Expedia.com. Members can reward themselves with almost anything – from travel, brand-name goods, and gift cards at favorite stores, to unique experiences and charitable donations at www.ThankYou.com

Brides.com will sponsor the annual Valentine’s Day wedding event at the Empire State Building

Publication: Crain’s New York Business –

For the first time, Brides.com will sponsor the annual Valentine’s Day wedding event at the Empire State Building. Each year, 14 couples are selected to tie the knot on the most romantic day of the year at the city’s tallest building. This February, the couples will get an extra bonus, Brides will hire stylist to primp the future spouses and decorate the makeshift “wedding chapel”. After the nuptials, each pair will enjoy a champagne toast and receive a gift bag worth $500.

THE 6TH ANNUAL 24 HOUR PLAYS ON BROADWAY

Publication: 24 Hour Plays


Working Playground, in association with Moxie Pictures and Gran Centenario Tequila, presents a 24 Hour Company Production of THE 6TH ANNUAL 24 HOUR PLAYS ON BROADWAY on Monday, October 23rd at the American Airlines Theatre. This year’s company members include actors Jennifer Aniston (“Friends”), Elizabeth Berkley (Hurlyburly), Erika Christensen (“Six Degrees,” Traffic), Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down), David Cross (“Arrested Development”), Rachel Dratch (“Saturday Night Live”), Michael Ealy (Sleeper Cell), John Hawkes (Me You and Everyone We Know), Gaby Hoffman (Suburbia), Matthew Lillard (Scream), Julianna Margulies (Feston, “ER”), Anna Paquin (The Squid and the Whale, The Piano), Rosie Perez (Chair of Working Playground Artistic Board), Sam Rockwell (Matchstick Men), Amy Ryan (A Streetcar Named Desire), Liev Schreiber (Glengarry Glen Ross), Pablo Schreiber (Awake and Sing!), Wallace Shawn (Hurlyburly, Threepenny Opera), Fisher Stevens (The Exonerated), Catherine Tate (“The Catherine Tate Show”), Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and Lynn Whitfield (The Josephine Baker Story); playwrights Adam Bock (The Receptionist), Julia Cho (Durango), Tina Howe (Painting Churches), David Ives (All In the Timing), Terrence McNally (Love! Valour! Compassion!), Adam Rapp (Red Light Winter); and directors Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl), Andrew McCarthy (The Breakfast Club), Bennett Miller (Capote), Ian Morgan (The New Group), and Josie Rourke (The Long and The Short and The Tall). 

THE 24 HOUR PLAYS is an annual benefit event at which entertainment’s biggest names join forces to participate in an annual rite of extreme live performance: they will write, direct and perform six original short plays …all in just 24 hours! For more information, visit https://www.24hourplays.com/. 

The creative process of THE 24 HOUR PLAYS begins at 10PM the night before the show, when a group of six writers, six directors, 24 actors and production staff gather at the American Airlines Theater. After everyone has been briefed, the writers stay up all night to each compose a ten-minute play. At 7:00AM the following morning, the directors return, read the plays, and choose their favorites to direct. The casts meet for the first time at 8 AM and quickly get to work rehearsing. Tech rehearsal runs from 5:00 to 7:30PM and doors open at 7:45PM. At 8:00PM, ink barely dry, the new plays are performed for a live audience. 

Proceeds from the event benefit Working Playground, a not-for-profit cultural organization that uses the arts to educate, inspire and enrich the lives of youth in over 40 underserved New York City schools. Through a dynamic range of programs including playwriting, animated video production, instrument building, playwriting, science cartooning and spoken word, Working Playground helps youth develop the creative and analytic impulses that will serve them as students, professionals and citizens. For more information, visit www.workingplayground.org/. 

The W Hotels Worldwide is the official Hotel Sponsor of THE 6TH ANNUAL 24 HOUR PLAYS ON BROADWAY. 

Some sponsorships for THE 6TH ANNUAL 24 HOUR PLAYS ON BROADWAY were brokered by The Erlick Group (www.erlickgroup.com) a New York based agency that represents leading entertainment properties in theatre, music, film and venues. 

About THE 24 HOUR COMPANY 

Founded by the creator of The 24 Hour Plays, The 24 Hour Company is the long-standing incarnation of a group of artists and producers that has mounted over 300 short plays since 1995–all written, cast, rehearsed and performed in a single day. Paper Magazine wrote “the quality of the plays is remarkable,” and the Village Voice adds, “Here was the energy missing from the Ludlow scene… theatricality as life, as subversion, even survival.” The rotating cast and crew of The 24 Hour Plays have performed for sold-out houses at the American Airlines Theater, Atlantic Theater, Minetta Lane Theater, 45 Bleecker Theater, the NY International Fringe Festival and other downtown venues in New York, as well as in Chicago, Los Angeles and London. Participants have included diverse talents from all levels- from Tony, Oscar and Pulitzer Prize winners to emerging talent and high school students. 

About WORKING PLAYGROUND, INC. 

Working Playground is a not-for-profit cultural organization, founded in 1991, with the belief that art is essential to human development, education and culture. By supporting underserved schools and communities, Working Playground inspires, enlivens, and enriches students’ educational experiences with the in-depth study of an art form. Through a dynamic range of programs including playwriting, theatre, film and documentary, animated music video production, instrument building, playwriting, science cartooning, dance performance and spoken word, Working Playground empowers youth to develop the creative and analytic impulses that will serve them as students, professionals and citizens. For the past 15 years, Working Playground has created in-depth partnerships with schools and communities by implementing art programs that help youth better understand essential academic content while exploring new tools to support their social and emotional development. WP’s theater, video, visual arts, dance, design, poetry, and music education programs have visited over 40 New York City public schools and engaged more than 30,000 young people, teachers and community members. An emphasis on inquiry-based pedagogy challenges young people to become active learners, eager to exercise critical thinking, leadership and creative skills. As a recipient of a New York State Award of Merit, Working Playground has become a highly respected institution that has been highlighted by The New York Times, New York Magazine, Variety, Time Magazine, Time Out, Rosie O’Donnell Magazine, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, NBC News, CBS This Morning, People Magazine, US Magazine and New York Post.

BestCredit Cards for College kids

Author: By David Ellis 
Publication: CNNMoney.com

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Laptop, iPod, a messenger bag and yes, a credit card – all the staples of modern college life. Nowadays, owning a piece of plastic has become as much as part of the college experience as griping about the dorm food. 

In fact, over three-quarters of all college kids have a credit card, according to a recent study published by the student loan firm Nellie Mae. 

Credit Card Rates 

Find the best credit card for you among thousands of issuing banks. Select a card type from the pulldown menu and click on the arrow to begin. Select a card type Standard Gold Platinum 

But while many college students are tempted to sign up with the first offer that comes their way, parents and students should know their son or daughter is entitled to some pretty sweet deals even if they have not established a credit history. 

A fair APR 

For starters, students should be able to qualify for a reasonable interest rate, says Curtis Arnold, founder of the online credit card rating outfit CardRatings.com. 

While many cards offer introductory rates of zero percent for the first six to 12 months, students without a credit history should try to find a credit card with an annual percentage rate in the mid-teens – around 16 or 17 percent or lower, says Arnold. 

“Avoid ones that get over 20 percent,” he says. “Check every avenue you can and compare what is out there.” 

While both fixed rate and variable rate cards have their advantages depending on whom you talk to, securing a card with a low interest rate is important since college kids tend to carry a balance on their credit card. And a higher interest rate can only mean more money out of their pocket. 

Rewards card for the responsible 

For those students that can stay on top of their expenses and exercise restraint when it comes to using the card, they should know there are some reward cards out there that dovetail with student spending habits, says Justin McHenry, research director at card rating firm Indexcreditcards.com. 

Some cards, for example, give you points just for purchasing books, buying groceries or filing up your car. 

“For anyone that can handle their finances and pay the card off every month, I encourage them to take advantage of reward cards,” says McHenry. 

No fees and a grace period 

Students should also be aware that there are plenty of cards out there that offer no annual fee and a grace period of at least 20 days, says Arnold, which is important, especially if they fail to mail that monthly payment on time. 

Parents and students should also realize there are plenty of issuers out there that are looking to make a buck off the financially naive, including college kids. 

Some issuers, for example, will hit the cardholder with a number of hidden fees, or even worse, says Arnold, they will promise a lucrative gift such as a computer, but then require that the card holder maintain a balance on their card, all while paying interest. 

That’s why, says Arnold, it’s so critical to read the fine print before signing up with any issuer. 

“Some of the offers out there are just really bad apples and basically huge rip-off offers,” he says. 

Miscellaneous 

While students can expect to be bombarded by offers on campus, on the Web and in their mailbox, experts weighed in on what some of their favorite credit cards were for college kids. 

mtvU Platinum Select Visa Card for College Students – This card was at the top of almost every expert’s list. Joseph Ridout, spokesman for the advocacy group Consumer Action, said one of the most impressive things about this card was not the rewards, but the fact that students received points for paying their bill on time and for getting good grades. 

Ohio Savings Bank Student Platinum Plus Visa or MasterCard – Students with a limited or no credit history that apply for this card should be able to secure an annual percentage rate of 13.99%, notes Arnold. 

Sovereign Bank Student Credit Card- Available in as either a MasterCard or Visa, this card offers a stunningly low 9.90% fixed interest rate, making it one of the lowest credit card rates out there right now, says McHenry of Indexcreditcards.com.

Citi “mtvU” Card Is the Most Innovative Student Card to Launch in the Past 18 Months

Publication: Credit Card Monitor Report

In addition to being just the third student card to be linked to an issuer’s flagship rewards program (ThankYou Network) this card is particularly noteworthy for enabling cardholders to earn points by being diligent in their finances (e.g., points for making payments on time) and in their studies (students can earn up to 2,000 points per semester based on cumulative GPA). It is the only card that effectively links financial responsibility with a financial reward – a concept that few credit education centers can better convey. The only drawback to the card is its reliance on the MTV brand name – the only MTV-related benefit listed is a discount at the MTV Store. While a different name for the card, or perhaps more MTV-based benefits would seem appropriate, this card is one of the few unique product offerings to emerge since our last report.

Fido’s McCartney Ad Soft Sell

Publication: Fund Action


Fidelity Investment’s television advertisement featuring ex-Beatle Paul McCartney is taking a soft sell approach, according to some. Fidelity unveiled the commercial this week during the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders football game. The advertisement featured a photo montage of his life with the tag line, “The key is, never stop doing what you love.” 

The television ad will certainly bring Fidelity attention, but it is unclear whether it will generate new business,” said Howard Schneider, president of Practical Perspectives. “There was no clear benefit to me as a consumer as to why I should call Fidelity about what they are offering. The call to action was, ‘call us,’ but it was not prominent as to how you call them. I was surprised at how soft the ad was,” he said. 

“The cost to attract McCartney for the advertising campaign is estimated at $2-5 million”, noted Jim Erlick, president of The Erlick Group, which puts together similar marketing deals. In addition to network TV, the ads will appear on cable television, and in national and local newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Canada. Fidelity is also sponsoring McCartney’s upcoming concert tour and a music education initiative. 

Geoff Chellis, president of Expedia Consulting Group, said the ad appeared to be simply promotional. “It didn’t do anything for me from an investment standpoint.” 

A banner ad on Fidelity’s Web site points a user to an offer for a free McCartney CD after using a retirement portfolio planner, a Retirement Quick Check or a Retirement Income Planner. Jenny Engle, Fidelity spokeswoman, said the firm does not intend the ads to appeal only to Baby Boomers planning for retirement, but to a much broader audience.

Cruise Lines Step Up Their Entertainment Offerings: Passengers Mingle With Vulcans And Barenaked Ladies

Publication: Entertainment Marketing Letter

Odwyerpr.com

A smorgasbord of live entertainment options is just as common on cruise ship as an overloaded food buffet.

But in recent years, booking agents, charter companies and the cruise lines themselves have been actively stepping up their entertainment efforts as a way to attract niche audiences and special interest groups that might not otherwise climb aboard.

The trend also ties in with the increasing emphasis on creating unique customer experiences and fostering a sense of community that cuts across all marketing disciplines.

Several cruise websites have also set up social networking capabilities, and entertainment tie-ins add another layer to the sense of passenger community.

“These cruises are filled with a group of like-minded people,” says Sara Riney of Sixthman which is one of the charter companies responsible for booking Carnival Cruise Line’s music cruises. “It’s really like a summer camp for adults.”

While music is the most obvious growth area, an increasing number of cruises are also themed to television properties, from “Star Trek” to “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.”

Meanwhile, the music offerings are stepping up from cover bands and lounge acts to chart-toppers such as Barenaked Ladies and Dave Matthews Band.

Most themed cruises are arranged through third-party booking agents and charter companies, rather than directly with the cruise lines. These marketers are eager to find sponsors and promotional partners for their events.

Targeted Audiences

“Niche cruises have a tremendous amount of appeal and allow you to target a very specific demographic,” says Jim Erlick of the Erlick Group, which acts as a sponsorship broker for Jazz Cruises, a charter company that specializes in jazz music trips. “These kinds of cruises offer a smorgasbord of content opportunities, and a 24/7 programming calendar to a targeted audience.”

Since passengers remain on the boat for a majority of their vacation, cruises can offer marketers a captive audience for immersive advertising and integrated campaigns. “Brand ambassadors can be aboard the ship, allowing consumers a firsthand experience with the brand itself.”

Gifts, and on-bed samples can also be distributed.

“Cruises provide intimate venues, and immersive communities [particularly] for music fans,” adds Sara Riney of Sixthman.

The charter company has already doubled its music offerings for 2008, with 30 artists scheduled to perform next year on its Rock Boat VIII.

With top artists coming aboard, performers now oftentimes draw as much, if not more, attention from potential passengers than the destinations themselves.

The Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sister Hazel and Lyle Lovett are among those who have had their own themed cruises chartered by Sixthman.

On the Barenaked Ladies’ latest tour this past January, entitled “Ships & Dips,” 4,000 guests joined the band on a cruise to Jamaica.

The band performed two nights – with half the ship’s passengers in attendance at each show – and mingled with passengers for the entire cruise. Lead singer Ed Robertson even participated in a “Guitar Hero” competition against five finalists, who got to play the videogame against him onstage.

“We’re looking for artists that have build strong fan communities,” says Riney.

Sixthman works with artist managers and music labels to find acts, and remains open to all genres of music.

“The level of involvement is up to the artist,” says Riney. Some are more open to mingling with fans throughout the cruise, while others tend to keep to themselves. Marketers need to be aware of an artist’s willingness to participate in public appearances and tailor their promotion plans accordingly.

Each themed cruise attracts a different demographic. For example, the audience for Barenaked Ladies skews young adult and primarily White. Jazz Cruises, a company that charters on Holland America, finds its genre-specific offerings draw older passengers and have particular resonance with African-Americans, who make up nearly half of the passengers on an average cruise.

Even event producer Live Nation is embracing cruise tie-ins. Country singer Tim McGraw received top line billing in the Live Nation-produced “Tim McGraw Country Cruise Getaway,” on the Carnival Cruise Line. While he didn’t perform on the ship, McGraw was the main draw when the cruise cocked at its destination in Nassau, The Bahamas.

Alternative Lifestyles

Lesbian travel company Olivia featured a live performance by Melissa Etheridge this past March on its Caribbean Escape cruise to 1,800 passengers. Other on-board entertainers to appear on Olivia cruises include such as Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg, k.d.lang, and the cast of Showtime’s “The L Word.”

Rosie O’Donnell’s vacation company, R Family Vacations, which provides alternative lifestyle family cruises and vacations, was the subject of an HBO documentary in 2004. Since then, the cruise line has expanded its entertainment offerings from Broadway stars to musical guests such as Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan and Etheridge.

Since cruises are year-round, they offer live exposure for an artist outside of the summer concert season. Yet they require a long lead-time for marketing and promotions, since passengers commonly book trips six months or a year or more in advance.

Live performances aren’t the only opportunity for music marketers. For example, Raven Moon Entertainment has a deal with Royal Caribbean to play Christian recording artist Gina D’s new album, “Oh Happy Day,” aboard its 21 cruise ships around the clock to promote her album release.

Television: Cults Work Best

When it comes to TV tie-ins, properties with a cult-like following work best, and tend to resonate with younger demographics.

A cruise based on the “Star Trek” series is entitled Sea Trek, while the Slayer Cruise, which sets sail at the end of this June, is based on “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and “Angel.”

While these specialized cruises are both chartered on Royal Caribbean, they tend to draw smaller numbers of participants and don’t generally commandeer the entire ship, as some of the music-themed cruises do.

They do offer exclusive activities and promotional items, as well as themed staterooms.

What it Takes To Hire A Sponsorship Sales Agency

Publication: IEG Sponsorship Report

Outsourcing sponsorship sales to an agency with experience, expertise and contracts holds obvious appeal for properties that have little or none of the above.

The good news for those properties is that the number of firms set up to represent sponsorship opportunities continues to grow, as is reflected by the sample list compiled by IEG SR of sales agencies offering services to non-sports and small-to-mid-sized properties.

But the number of properties seeking assistance also may be on the rise. Arts & Communications, an agency that specializes in cultural and entertainment properties, is receiving a growing number of inquiries from properties looking for help with sponsorship sales, as well as with identifying and packaging opportunities, said managing director Ann Holtby.

“Companies are looking for more than just exposure, which used to be where sponsorship began and ended,” Holtby said. “They want client engagement, ways to get employees involved and the opportunity to showcase products and services. Properties realize they don’t always have the expertise to solve those kinds of issues.”

The fact remains that agencies naturally are interested in working with properties that can generate the most profit, as well as expand the broker’s network and reputation, which means that some smaller or niche properties still will not be in a position to find representation.

Even for those that are in that position, a number of challenges await on the road to establishing a mutually beneficial relationship, including agreement on the property’s income potential and its ability to deliver on promises made by the agent, not to mention issues of compensation.

What Agencies Look For In Prospective Clients Given that there are more properties then agencies, brokers can be selective about whom they take on. Sales agencies consider a number of factors when determine whether or not to represent a property, including its sponsorship revenue and profit potential, the people and organizations behind the property, its prestige factor and its reach and influence.

Arts & Communications, whose client roster includes, the Art Gallery of Ontario and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, concentrates on organizations that are capable of generating at least six figures in annual sponsorship income. “If their revenue is below that, they wouldn’t be able to hire us,” Holtby said.

One of the key sticking points between agencies and prospective clients is determining the level of potential sponsorship revenue. Many agencies say that properties have unrealistic expectations of their worth.

“One of the things I always do upfront is to give my perspective of fair market value so that we’re on the same page. It’s critical to reconcile that upfront,” said Jim Erlick, president of The Erlick Group, which specializes in film, Broadway productions and other entertainment properties.

The potential size and value of a property’s sponsorship packages is especially relevant, agencies say, because the work involved in selling small deals and large one’s is the same.

“It can take the same amount of effort to sell a $10,000 deal as a $5 million deal,” said Andrew Klein, president of Revolution Marketing, an agency that specializes in concerts, video game competitions and other touring properties. “It’s the same process: You make a phone call, send a proposal, have a meeting and close the deal.”

Those thoughts are echoed by others. “I’ve done seven-figure deals in one meeting, and I’m working on a $5,000 deal now that has taken 16 months to put together,” said Michael Richman, president of Backstage Pass Entertainment Marketing, which represents The Venetian Hotel Resort Casino, as well as performing art venues.

When evaluating a potential client, Klein tries to identify 10 companies that potentially would be interested in the property. “If there are no obvious partners, we’d have to take a pass.”

Fees Required In Addition To Paying Commission
The standard payment structure between rightsholder and agency is a retainer plus commission.

The average commission rate is 20 percent, although it can go as low as 10 percent and as high as 35 percent. That range is based on a number of factors including the size of the deal, the age and reputation of the property and the expected length of the sales process.

Most agencies require a retainer to cover expenses. Monthly fees can range from several hundred dollars to $10,000.

In addition to paying expenses, agencies say retainer fees are vital because they ensure that clients are interested in the sales process. “Properties need to have skin in the game,” said Tom Cordova, president of Cordova Marketing Group, which has represented motorsports venues and pro sports teams among other properties.

In addition to agreeing on the retainer and commission rate for new cash deals, the two parties also must concur on compensation for renewals of pre-existing deals, future renewals of agency-led deals and in-kind agreements.

If an agency renews with a sponsor that was originally signed by the property, it typically will earn its commission only on the amount of any increase. Some agencies lower their percentage for renewals of deals they originated, while others offer no discount, positing that renewals can be just as much work as new deals.

Rates for in-kind sponsorships can be tricky due to the difficulty of attaching cash values. Agencies usually earn full commission only on items that are budget relieving, sources said.

Tips On Establishing A Relationship With A Sales Agent
Cary Chevat, president of Sponsorship Resources, a 15-year-old sales agency that represents Feld Entertainment, Inc.’s Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Disney on Ice properties, plus other opportunities, offers the following advice to properties:

Grant exclusivity. It is extremely important for agencies to have exclusive sales rights. “Most agencies will not take on an assignment if they don’t have exclusivity either in certain categories or for the whole property,” Chevat said. “Exclusivity is the only way to motivate an agency.”

Develop performance metrics. Properties must be able to measure if an agency is doing its job. “Are they sending our proposals? Are they getting meetings? If they haven’t had any serious discussions within three months, fire them.” Chevat said, recommending that properties ask for copies of correspondence-not call sheets-between the agency and potential sponsors.

Make sure agency knows what it can and cannot sell. In addition to any restrictions on categories because of property policies or existing exclusivity agreements, agencies also should have a comprehensive understanding of the salable inventory under the property’s control.

“You can get into a lot of trouble if, for example, the agency promises a sponsor that it can offer a promotion giving away a CD sampler of the artists appearing at an event, and you haven’t secured those rights,” Chevat said.

Check references. Properties should talk to past clients to make sure agencies have sold deals. “Some agencies won’t do anything after they receive a retainer,” Chevat said.

Sources: Arts & Communications, Tel: 416/966-3421
Backstage Pass Entertainment Marketing, Tel: 972/386-3300
Cordova Marketing Group, Tel: 407/316-8414
The Erlick Group, Tel: 212/418-7372
Revolution Marketing, Tel: 212/378-1614
Sponsorship Resources, Tel 973/746-1925

Don’t let price be a limitation

Publication: IEG Sponsorship Report

Don’t let price be a limitation.

This issue is one of the major drawbacks to sending unsolicited full proposals, a process that is quickly falling out of favor.

As Jim Erlick, founder of The Erlick Group, an agency that brokers deals for entertainment properties and venues, put it: “If you send out a proposal with a specific price, half the time your price will be too high and half the time it will be too low.”

A more effective alternative to pre-packaged proposals is to involve the sponsor in the creation of the sponsorship program. If a meeting cannot be scheduled without putting something in writing, the initial materials should be short and concise, with just enough information to demonstrate your knowledge of the sponsor’s objectives. Erlick used this approach when he sold sponsorship of the touring production of the Broadway musical Moving Out! to Visa U.S.A., Inc. The producers allowed Visa to help plan the tour’s routing to make sure that it was housed in venue that were affiliated with the credit card. Visa also negotiated the rights to produce TV ads featuring the show’s actors and to create a Playbill-style giveaway booklet with offers from Visa merchants.

Jim Erlick talks to Deerfield Academy

Publication: Deerfield Academy

“I am married with two girls ages eight and ten and a half, living in Larchmont, NY,” reports Jim Erlick. “After 14 years in corporate marketing positions at General Foods, Seagram Wine Company, and American Express, I founded The Erlick Group in 1992 (www.erlick-group.com). Our NY-based entertainment sponsorship agency conceives/brokers customized strategic partnerships on a local, regional and national basis with leading properties in theatre, film, music and venues.”

Entertainment Marketing Letter: Opportunities Alert

Broadway Production Offers Product Placement. A Broadway production of the 1992 MGM film The Mambo Kings is looking for promotional and sponsorship partners interested in appropriate on-stage product placement and in-theater promotions. The Mambo Kings is being produced by Daryl Roth (Proof, Wit) and Jordan Roth (Rocky Horror Picture Show) and directed by Arnie Glimcher, who directed the original film.
The show debuts in San Francisco in May or June 2005 before heading to New York City for previews in July and a planned August 8 opening. The production will be marketed to the traditional Broadway theater-goer, as well as the largely untapped Hispanic market, via Serrino Coyne and its sister company, Dieste Harmel & Partners.

The cast is still being lined up, but is expected to include major stars representing different cultural groups within the Latino community. Partnerships may include themed advertorials featuring cast members, customized CDs or gift-with-purchase offers, and trade and consumer ticket offers. Jim Erlick of The Erlick Group handles sponsorships.

The Erlick Group,
Jim Erlick,
1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 34th Fl.,
New York, NY 10017;
phone: 212-418-7372;
e-mail: jim@erlick-group.com

Entertainment Marketing Letter: Opportunities Alert

Publication: Entertainment Marketing Letter

To have your project or property featured in Opportunities Alert, e-mail Susan Nunziata at snunziata@epmcom.com or call 212-941-1633, x26. Submissions are edited for space and darity and must include an entertainment component.

Big Apple Fest Expands Sponsorship Options. Big Apple Fest – a fundraising effort that places artist – designed apple sculptures at prominent New York City locations – is expanding in ’05, with plans for a concert series, a family fun fest, and a film series.

The event, which will run from Labor Day through October 31, 2005, is a fundraiser for City Harvest and the Police Athletic League. After the event, the apples are auctioned off, with a portion of proceeds donated to the charities.

Organizer Big Apple Events – a non-profit corporation – and sponsorship sales partner The Erlick Group, seek sponsors, media, and marketing partners for the eight-week festival. Ideal partners include banks, fashion and cosmetics companies, and entertainment marketers.

Licensing partners are also sought to create a line of souvenirs and collectibles based on the apple designs.

The concert series will be comprised of four shows at B.B.King’s Blues Club, while the film festival is planned at a major New York City-based movie theater chain. A family fun fest event is on tap for Central Park.

Last year’s Big Apple Fest, produced in cooperation with NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism and marketing organization, had 80 companies sponsoring 190 Big Apples designed by 150 artists. Media partners in 2004 included City Guide magazine and AC radio station Mix 102.7FM. Both media partners are signed on in ’05, and additional radio, television and print partners are sought.

Contacts:
Big Apple Events,
Bill Carroll, Managing Director,
708 Third Ave.,
New York, NY 10017;
phone: 212-599-1552;
e-mail: bill@bigapplefest.org.

The Erlick Group,
Jim Erlick,
1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 34th Fl.,
New York, NY 10017;
phone: 212-418-7372;
e-mail: jim@erlick-group.com