DreamWorks Hires Top 'Brand' Exec

By Robert Marich
   Dec. 10, 2012-DreamWorks Animation hired a chief global brand officer in a bid to spur sales of its licensed merchandise and cultivate a deeper affinity for its film, TV and other properties that include include Shrek. Many companies now have chief marketing officers (CMOs) but the “brand” component of this job title is a new wrinkle.
  The newly-minted CGBO Michael Francis previously worked at retailers JCPenney and also Target stores.The branding guru reports to Ann Daly, DreamWorks Animation chief operating officer, and Anne Globe continues as CMO-chief marketing officer.
  The branding czar “will be responsible for DreamWorks Animation's worldwide branding initiatives, including the branding of all of the intellectual property associated with the studio,” says a DreamWorks Animation press release today. “He will also be responsible for the Company's licensing and consumer products efforts as well as franchise management activities.”
   “In addition to working with DreamWorks, Mr. Francis will be part of the company's efforts to start Oriental DreamWorks, a new $350 million Shanghai-based animation studio in development,” says a Wall Street Journal article by Erica Orden. “The company has secured a prime branding opportunity in connection with that studio: the naming of the Dream Center, a $3.1 billion entertainment district in Shanghai that will include the world's largest IMAX theater and a pagoda with a theme based on the Kung Fu Panda movie.”
   DreamWorks Animation’s stock price has slumped in the wake of a mediocre performance of its recent movie Rise of the Guardian, which one stock analyst predicts will trigger a write-off in the tens of millions of dollars. The stock analyst says the “psychological impact of DreamWorks Animation producing a money-losing film could be more harmful than the expense itself,” says an Advertising Age article by Jeanine Poggi.
  DreamWorks Animation recent theatrical films include Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon and Puss in Boots. Separately, there are DreamWorks Classics of vintage properties including Casper the Friendly Ghost, Where's Waldo?, Lassie, George of the Jungle and the Christmas Classic titles of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.  
   Under is chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation has a reputation as a big spender of paid advertising to support theatrical release of its movies, but the new CGBO executive does not look to take over supervision of paid advertising.
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