ICM’s Linkenhoker said many of the agency’s clients, including outspoken TV producer Shonda Rhimes, are seeking advice from the agency on how best to use their high profile to influence social change. Linkenhoker was involved in Rhimes’ decision to join the national board of Planned Parenthood, a development announced earlier this month. Rhimes has served on the board of the group’s L.A. chapter.
“Everything has become political these days, and the waters are complicated and hard to navigate sometimes,” said Linkenhoker. “ICM looked at this as an opportunity to add an extra resource, an extra value” for clients the agency is already serving.”
She said this work entails a lot of research and “matchmaking.”
“I’m spending a lot of time digging into what issues are really relevant right now, and where there are opportunities,” she added. “I’m talking to clients and agents, and understanding which, if any, clients care about an issue and pairing them up.”
The effort is social issue-oriented rather than an attempt to support political party affiliations, she said.
Michelle Kydd Lee, CAA’s veteran chief innovation officer, said the Hollywood community is evidencing “a need to stay woke.”
From her perspective, heightened political awareness is cyclical in Hollywood, noting she observed a similar phenomenon surrounding the election of George W. Bush.
“There was the same feeling that the change of administration was cataclysmic,” she said. “There was a lot of activism taking place in substantive ways.”
She added that social media might keep the drumbeat going longer in 2017, particularly with Hollywood celebrities taking advantage of online avenues to make their opinions heard.
“With Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, the stories are able to stay alive, the artist is able to tell the story in real time,” Lee said. “It’s a great motivation (for) the policy side. People are keeping their foot on the gas.”
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