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Tori Spelling And Meredith Viera Get An Ad Agency

Well, here’s a bad idea: “- along with 22 other estimable names [ Maria Bartiromo, Meredith Vieira, Tori Spelling and Susan Lyne] including Ogilvy & Mather Chairman-CEO Shelly Lazarus, aren’t forming an agency in the traditional sense, but will be part of a “panel” offering marketing and general business advice to NBC Universal and its clients on how to reach women.” This new agency “will also blog, write and appear on air for the media company’s women-oriented properties and contribute to a quarterly newsletter…”

Okay. Fine. Lazarus, sure. She’s spent a lifetime doling out advertising to consumers. However, what does Tori Spelling know about a woman living in Wisconsin whose husband has lost her job and she’s working 40 hours as a receptionist and praying that all the money she lost in her child’s college investment fund comes back before he heads off to school in three years? What. Ever.

Media companies have long been trying to muscle out the ad agencies, but this attempt seems like it might actually steal some business away. Not because it’s a sound idea or because this new agency has anything on the planners in the ad biz, but because of star wattage. CMO’s are suckers for celebrities.

The panel will be chaired by Lauren Zalaznick, president of NBC Universal’s Women & Lifestyle Networks. She says that this new formation will allow NBC to think like a marketer rather than a programmer. The idea is that brands will pay this new group for insights and then, head to their agency for implementation.

“There’s no harm in [creating the panel]. Maybe it can give them a leg up,” said Andrew Donchin, director-media investment at Aegis Group’s Carat. “If we can come up with some integrations or some concepts to add to our schedule, then maybe it will be very helpful.”

In other words, Donchin and (we’re sure) all of you are pretty skeptical that this new NBC service is going to churn out anything valuable, but will probably steal a few dollars coming into our ad world coffers and making more work for us. Someone is going to have to fix all those half-baked sound bites into you know, actual actionable concepts and creative.

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