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Geoff Robison

Aug 2, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Cut and print it.

and Santa Monica, Calif.-based Palisades Media Group can look forward to more drama in the business of buying TV advertising time now that they have Miramax Films back as a client.

Just before the start of this year’s upfront, Miramax left the big New York agency Zenith Media Group after one year to go back with Palisades, the agency that helped Miramax market itself as a hot mini-major studio back in the ’90s.

In 1994, at age 24, Mr. Robison began working on the Miramax account with Roger Schaffner-first at ICG, a small media agency in Los Angeles, and then when Mr. Schaffner started the company in 1996, at Palisades.

“We have proven we can compete pricing-wise,” said Mr. Robison, explaining why Miramax came back. “We have dedicated senior people on the account actually doing the work.”

Movie accounts are like no others in that the media plan can change every day, with multiple TV spots having to be moved, modified or canceled.

“It’s unheard-of for any other business,” said Mr. Robison, senior VP of national television for Palisades.

Mr. Robison’s calming influence gets high marks from his boss. “The center of it for Jeff is not only his work ethic and his level of caring,” said Mr. Schaffner, president and CEO of Palisades Media Group, “but that he mentors this to his staff. It’s also the way he stays level in a crisis. Quite honestly, what we don’t consider a crisis would be a crisis at other shops.”

Mr. Robison represents more than $300 million in billings, including video game manufacturer Electronic Arts, Lions Gate Entertainment and phone service Virgin Mobile. He has been working on Miramax ever since the seminal 1994 theatrical feature “Pulp Fiction,” which helped put the studio on the map.

For Electronic Arts, Palisades has engineered many special marketing/product placement deals with major sports networks for popular video games under its EA Sports brand. For example, Palisades put EA Sports’ best-selling sports video game, Madden 2004, on Fox’s NFL broadcasts and more recently on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Football” and ABC’s “Monday Night Football.”

Cable networks often feature behind-the-scenes shows that focus on movies. Palisades took this idea a step further, spotlighting the making of video games. “We were the first ones to break the category with MTV,” Mr. Robison said. “Now they are doing it for other video game [makers].”

One of the biggest successes for Mr. Robison and Palisades is the revolutionary way the company helps Miramax market movies around Oscar season. Miramax was the first studio to strategically launch movies at the end of the year with massive marketing and publicity campaigns targeting not only consumers but also Oscar voters.

“Every spot does double duty,” Mr. Robison said. “[Miramax] invented that type of marketing.”

In Miramax, headed by the always energetic and sometimes hands-on brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Mr. Robison has no easy client, but he is consistently able to hold things together. “He is truly well-respected,” said Steve Agase, VP of West Coast advertising sales for NBC. “He has this unique ability to absorb client pressure. We fight for him. He creates a calming atmosphere in a volatile category.”