Established in 1991, United Talent Agency connects and represents artists in film, television, digital, books, music, video games, branding and licensing, speaking, marketing, fine arts, news and broadcasting. Ackerman McQueen and UTA share a philosophy that brands should focus on premium, story-driven content. We sat down with Glisten McCrary, Head of Creative Agency Partnerships for UTA, to learn more.
AM: Please describe your role at UTA.
GLISTEN: I run a stand-alone division responsible for building bridges between the marketing and entertainment worlds, partnering creative agencies with premium content and creators at UTA.
AM: What goes into bringing these creators together?
GLISTEN: Depends on what world(s) they’re currently playing in, and how comfortable they are doing something different. For some projects, it’s as simple as partnering with a writer that has a demonstrated expertise speaking to a specific demo/persona. If you need to speak Millennial woman, this could mean adding a writer from “Girls,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” or “Broad City” to the team. For others that are more evolved, it’s about allocating a relatively small amount of their budget to figuring out what their entertainment strategy is – and matching that up with like-minded, premium creators (writers, directors, entertainment production companies).
AM: So let’s talk about brands. Why do you think brands need partnerships likes these?
GLISTEN: Most brands realize they can’t rely solely on a 30-second spot. If a brand wants consumers to spend time with it, they have to offer something of value. That can mean many things, including strong, story-driven content. The goal is to create something consumers want to watch (even pay for), not something that precedes what they want to watch.
AM: Say a brand and creator partner on a film or show, what’s next for the brand once the content is created?
GLISTEN: Even before the show is on the air, or film is in theaters/streaming, that’s when all the more traditional marketing activities begin—PR (why the content is important), secondary and tertiary content (leveraging the IP, talent, themes, etc.), social.
AM: Can you share a UTA success story that stood out to you?
GLISTEN: There are success stories all the time. The project I’m most excited about right now – creating a premium TV show for a big car brand.