August is downtime in Hollywood, when executives take their families on holiday and business dealings grind to a halt. Which is precisely why August is the month to watch. It’s transfer season, when companies take advantage of the lull in activity to reshape their exec corps.
August is downtime in Hollywood, when executives take their
families on holiday and business dealings grind to a halt. Which is
precisely why August is the month to watch. It’s transfer season, when
companies take advantage of the lull in activity to reshape their exec
Publicity is no exception. As the summer has progressed, a number of
shake-ups have occurred, and the burst of activity has underlined two
undeniable dictums about publicity.
The first is that, like talent agents, talent publicists are only as
good as their client lists - clients normally, but not exclusively,
remain loyal to the publicist rather than to the agency. The second is
that at some point a successful publicist will always want to move to
another agency, or set up his/her own. This is why entertainment PR has
become so fragmented and cluttered with start-up entrepreneurial
Two moves stand out: Desiree Gruber, who last month quit her job as a VP
at Rogers & Cowan to set up Full Picture, her own venture in New York;
and PMK stalwart Mara Buxbaum, who left Pat Kingsley’s powerhouse shop
to become a partner in Kelly Bush’s small but trendy agency I/D Public
Underlining the see-saw nature of publicity, many of Gruber and
Buxbaum’s clients are said to be traveling with them. Gruber’s roster
includes Naomi Campbell and Miramax Films, while Buxbaum reps Christina
Ricci and Mira Sorvino.
Gruber, 32, is said to be driven by the desire to control her own
Full Picture is symbolic of the broader ambitions of today’s younger
In addition to plain old publicity, Gruber’s full-service venture aims
to be a production and management company that will also raise finance
for film and TV projects.
I/D, on the other hand, is already snapping at the heels of PMK.
Buxbaum’s list fits well with I/D, which has grown on the back of young
talent such as Mike Myers, Brendan Fraser, Natalie Portman and Ben
Stiller. Conversely, PMK and Rogers & Cowan deal primarily in
established stars. But I/D isn’t taking over yet. The talent players -
which aside from PMK and Rogers & Cowan include BWR and DDA - still
control most film stars.
But the bigger agencies have been put on notice. They will find it
harder to hold onto dynamic staff members, especially those that have
created their own power bases by developing close ties with clients.
Nobody is invulnerable. PR agencies, especially those that focus on
talent representation, must bring in emerging actors in order to stay
Otherwise, August will cease to be quiet and become bloody.