PR giant Fleishman-Hillard Inc. has announced a global entertainment practice based in its new Hollywood offices. David Stamper, general manager of the local bureau, will co-chair the practice along with Michelle Mikoljak Stevenson, vice president of Fleishman-Hillard Los Angeles.

"This new practice will guide companies as they weigh their options for strategically using entertainment to create an emotional connection with their audiences," said Dave Senay, chief executive at the St. Louis-based agency. The practice will concentrate on brand integration, celebrity spokespeople and red carpet events.

The agency moved from downtown L.A. to Hollywood as part of a strategic makeover. Just five years ago, a major part of the L.A. office's income came from political and public policy consulting. But in 2003, three Fleishman-Hillard executives were charged with overbilling city agencies, leading to multimillion-dollar settlements and a search for a new business model.

With new personnel and the office in Hollywood, the transformation appears complete. The new location represents "the epicenter of the world's perception of the entertainment industry, so it's a fitting base from which to coordinate this new offering," Stamper said.

The practice will bring together PR pros from 11 U.S. offices and nine international locations, particularly China. Also, as a unit of the holding company Omnicom Group Inc., Fleishman can access talent at advertising agencies such as TBWA\Chiat\Day and BBDO Worldwide.

Blogging It Out

Two local news channels are reaching out to bloggers.

KCBS-TV (Channel 2) and KCAL-TV (Channel 9), both CBS Corp. affiliates, will provide bloggers with "widgets" computer code that perform simple operations on a Web page. In this case, the widgets open a box to alert blog readers about breaking news stories. The box will display headlines and an ad.

Blog publishers choose one of six topical news feeds based on a blog's content. To access full stories, visitors can link back to the TV stations' news sites.

Bloggers participating in the program receive a portion of the advertising revenue generated by the stations, which will handle the selling of ad space within the widgets.

The so-called CBS 2 and KCAL 9 Los Angeles Network already has landed AT & T; Inc. as a major advertiser for two local sites, labuzzblog.com and USC sports fan site trojanwire.com.

CBS has launched these local TV-Web networks in 13 markets across the country.

Sparkling Stone

Italian jewelry house Damiani has signed Hollywood glam dame Sharon Stone for a new ad blitz. Silvia Damiani announced the deal at the company's boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

The campaign features Stone in the role of legendary women from Eve to Amelia Earhart. The ads carry the tagline: "Damiani A Girl's Best Friend."

Ads with the photos of Stone will appear in upscale magazines.

Damiani has a history of association with Hollywood jet-setters. Gwyneth Paltrow and Sophia Loren have name collections with the company, and the house designed the famous wedding ring that Brad Pitt gave to Jennifer Aniston. The couple later sued the firm for selling knockoffs of the ring, but the matter was settled by allowing Pitt to act as a jewelry designer and Aniston as a model.

Pencil Awards

The One Club, a non-profit organization that promotes the craft of advertising, will organize a new entertainment awards show to honor creative branding "beyond mere product placement."

The group will bestow gold, silver and bronze pencil awards at a ceremony Oct. 7 at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles. Judges for the awards include Brett Ratner, director of "X-Men: The Last Stand"; David Lubars, chairman of BBDO North America; and Scott Donaton, publisher of Entertainment Weekly.

News & Notes

Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo joined health care advocates to introduce a TV ad that will show in 20 markets to support legislative bills containing "Medicare for All" provisions. The ad, funded by the California Nurses Association, shows a nurse explaining an insurance company's denial of coverage decision to a family. Adlhoch Creative Inc. has added the Farmers Market at Third & Fairfax to its client roster. The PR agency will promote the shopping center's summer concert series and its upcoming 75th anniversary. Channel M, the in-store video network based in L.A., has hired Dennis Quinn as president of sales and marketing. Quinn was previously executive vice president of business development at Turner Broadcasting. PR shop Mayo Communications has a new gig with Wajior Records to promote Toronto-based guitarist Crash Kelly's new album, "One More Heart Attack." Both Mayo and Warrior are in L.A. Catie Derryberry, former president of MusiCounts, an L.A. marketing consultancy for the music industry, has moved to San Diego to take over as president of RoyaltyShare, a company that manages digital royalties for songs and other entertainment.

Staff reporter Joel Russell can be reached at jrussell@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 237.

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