Levine Communications Office, the public relations firm long associated with Hollywood stars, has signed up to represent the law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp in West Los Angeles.

Michael Levine, the agency founder who recently made the media rounds as Michael Jackson's former PR person, said the assignment doesn't feel like a stretch because the two attorneys he will promote are involved in entertainment law.

"For better or worse, there is a correlation between credibility and visibility, and it's our obligation to make sure that outstanding attorneys and law firms have their rightful place in the conversation about the entertainment industry," he said.

The two attorneys are Russell Franckman and Adam Levin. Franckman specializes in music, digital entertainment, copyright and trademark law. Levin focuses on employment, First Amendment rights, discrimination, wrongful termination and trade secrets.

Levine said media relations will account for most of his work for Franckman and Levin. Liam Collopy, executive vice president at the agency, will supervise the account.

Laughs Online

The company that controls the Improv comedy club has launched an online marketing division. Punch line: It will only promote comedians.

Offered on a subscription basis, E-Comic Branding builds a comic's presence by posting a profile and clips on the Improv's Web site and comedy festival sites, and social networks such as YouTube, Comedy.com and MySpace.

E-Comic Branding starts with a few big-name clients, including Katt Williams and David Spade.

Levity Entertainment Group in Westchester owns E-Comic Branding in addition to a talent agency for comedians, a TV production group specializing in comedy and a controlling stake in the Improv club chain.

"All of the capabilities of Levity Entertainment Group, including E-Comic Branding, can dramatically increase a comedian's earning power," Darrin McAfee, senior vice president of digital media, said in a statement. "The Levity advantage comes with our extensive arsenal of production, management and branding tools that work together."

CB View

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Los Angeles has started its own magazine, CB View. The weekly publication debuted July 11 with distribution in local newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, Ventura County Star, Beach Reporter, Larchmont Chronicle and La Canada Flintridge Outlook. It was also placed in Wall Street Journal editions in the L.A. area.

CB View also has a Web site, a Facebook page and a Twitter profile.

"The View represents a major shift in real estate advertising," Publisher Chris Crocker said in a statement. "Today's highly competitive real estate marketplace requires both online and offline property information sources that reach the greatest potential audience."

The CB View concept was originally developed by Coldwell's operation in Orange County, where 7.2 million copies were distributed last year.

Healthy Sleep

Sit 'n Sleep has sent its spokesman Irwin the Accountant on hiatus until the economy improves.

The Gardena-based mattress store's new ads focus on the health benefits of buying a new bed. The message represents an abrupt switch for the company, which for years has boasted of low prices with chatty radio ads featuring Chief Executive Larry Miller and his antagonist Irwin.

Rich Kagan, a principal at Wingman Media in Los Angeles, said the switch was based on research that showed people aren't basing their decision to buy a mattress on price. The only active buyers left in the market are health-conscious consumers the target for the new campaign.

Kagan said the same creative team remains the same from Irwin's days, with Wingman buying media and downtown agency Ideaology creating the ads.

"Irwin is not dead," Kagan said. "He is a real accountant with an office in Sherman Oaks. Although he's on hiatus, I still hear people say, 'You're killing me, Larry!'"

Agencies & Accounts

Downtown L.A. PR firm Consensus Planning Group Inc. has shortened its name to Consensus Inc. In a statement, President Josh Gertler said the change reflects how "traditional media outlets are no longer the primary source for information" among consumers hence the subtraction of "media" from the company's name. Ad shop 72andSunny in Westchester has hired Jason Yau as a senior digital developer. Yau previously worked at Yahoo's Brickhouse innovations group, where he created Internet and mobile projects. Grassroots Motorsports, an amateur racing magazine, has hired JMPR Public Relations in Woodland Hills to help develop traffic for its Web site. The magazine is based in Holly Hill, Fla. Direct-reponse ad firm Mercury Media in Santa Monica has hired Doug Fox as senior director of business development. He will concentrate on landing new clients in the consumer products, fashion, financial services and technology sectors. Ignited, an El Segundo ad agency, has hired Brian Mulford as executive vice president of its digital division. Previously, Mulford served as chief information officer at Regulus, a consumer payment processing firm.

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

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