November 28, 2020

Advertising: Seacrest Buys Marketing Agency to Expand Reach

The acquisition, to be announced on Wednesday, reflects Mr. Seacrest’s plan to build a diversified media company on the back of his many day jobs, which include hosting Fox’s “American Idol” and radio shows for Clear Channel. In a telephone interview, he said of the acquisition, “Part of my overall goal in the business is to connect content, brands and consumers. I think that this is a great opportunity to do that.”

Mr. Seacrest already has his own marketing deals. One with Ford Motor resulted in a campaign this year called “Random Acts of Fusion.” Mr. Seacrest is the M.C. for the campaign, appearing in online videos, commercials and Twitter messages.

Mr. Seacrest said he saw more such partnerships on the horizon. Showing up on camera, though, is not the main point of the deal with Civic Entertainment. He said the company’s co-founders, Stuart Ruderfer and David Cohn, would continue to run the company independently in New York.

“They’ll do what they do best,” he said, while he will tap into his connections across industries.

He could, theoretically, line up some of the celebrities he interviews on the radio, or some of the reality stars whose shows he produces for the E! channel, for an event put together by Civic.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. It was conducted through Mr. Seacrest’s new personal investment arm, the Seacrest Global Group, not through an investment fund set up this year by the majority investors in Clear Channel, THL and Bain Capital. That fund, with up to $300 million in commitments, is seeking bigger investments than the one Mr. Seacrest made in Civic.

Mr. Seacrest called the deal the first “of what I hope to be many,” citing an interest in creating a very diversified portfolio.

Mr. Ruderfer said he and Mr. Cohn had been talking with Mr. Seacrest for a few months. “Ryan has a very unique vision for building a new media and entertainment model, and we’re extremely excited to partner up with him on doing that,” he said.

Mr. Ruderfer added, “I think a lot of people have aspired to bring Hollywood together with excellent marketing services. I think this is genuinely fulfilling that promise, and it’s genuinely new in that way,”

Civic, which has 45 employees, has been behind prominent campaigns for clients like CNN, NBC, HBO, AE, and the National Football League. It specializes in so-called experiential marketing, which is based on people going to places or events.

For example, for HBO’s “The Pacific,” the company helped organize a wreath-laying ceremony for war veterans at the World War II Memorial in Washington. For Southwest Airlines, it helped set up a bar and lounge called the Southwest Porch in Bryant Park in New York City. For the History channel’s “Swamp People,” it planted alligators and cypress trees inside the city’s Chelsea Market. It produced a series of restaurant spaces for CNN, the CNN Grill, at the Republican and Democratic conventions and the SXSW technology conference.

Some of its work has involved creating content, a growing area for big brands like the N.F.L., which commissioned Civic to come up with a plan for its Facebook and Twitter pages. For NBC News, Civic helped devise Education Nation, a series of summit meetings that has attracted well-known speakers and has become an annual event.

Something like Education Nation “enhances the brand of NBC News,” Mr. Ruderfer said.

Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, said Mr. Ruderfer and Mr. Cohn had brought “great contacts and great energy” to Education Nation.

Mr. Capus is also a fan of Mr. Seacrest, whose wide-ranging pact with NBC, announced in April, made him a special correspondent on the “Today” show. Mr. Capus said, “I think it’s going to be a terrific pairing.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/05/business/media/seacrest-buys-marketing-agency-to-expand-reach.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Wealth Matters: Avoiding Legal Problems When Managing a Household Staff

But this column is for the other people who employ household help — housekeepers, nannies, chefs, butlers and estate managers. Their problems are more about being compliant with employment and tax laws and ensuring low turnover.

“There is no rocket science in our business,” said Travis Dommert, chief operating officer of the Lindquist Group, one of the oldest placement firms for household help in the country. “It’s about how you hire, manage and retain good people and not get sued in the process.”

Yet otherwise smart, wealthy people seem to have a harder time managing their household employees than the people they work with in their day jobs. Here are some tips for people planning to hire household help.

NECESSITY VS. LUXURY During the recession, the market for household help was the inverse of other markets: middle- and upper-middle-class consumers kept it afloat, while the wealthiest cut back.

“Housekeeping and nanny requests are what kept us going through the recession,” said Keith Greenhouse, president of the Pavillion Agency, a 50-year-old domestic staffing firm in New York.

The reason, said Mr. Greenhouse and others, is that many middle- and upper-middle-class couples need a housekeeper or a nanny so they can work.

“For most families with household staff, help is not a luxury but a necessity,” said Kathleen English, who has worked with members of the Rockefeller family and now runs the English Household. “Let’s look at what we’re talking about here. This category encompasses your babysitter, your cleaning lady, the helpmate for your mom, the folks who cut your grass and help keep your house running smoothly while you work.”

She said many of her clients had tried hard to retain their help during the downturn.

Among the wealthiest, though, a full accoutrement of servants is either less appealing or an expense they no longer want.

“I think people’s lifestyles have changed,” Ms. English said. “While Prince Charles employs several hundred staff, William and Kate are more modern, live with less and are more casual in their lifestyles. Household staffing needs are beginning to reflect this modern view.”

Acknowledging this, Mr. Greenhouse said his firm had added a training school that employers could use to teach their existing household workers different skills — and reduce the need to hire additional people. He cited the example of a longtime housekeeper who doesn’t have the skills to serve a formal dinner.

COMMON MISTAKES Many affluent Americans are apt to skip over the logistical details when they deal with their household employees. They may rush the hiring process, run afoul of labor laws or create an unnecessarily stressful situation.

In interviewing candidates, the most common mistake people make is not being thorough. “They overlook qualifications and background checks,” said Kim Cassford, a former private chef and house manager who co-founded the staffing firm Cassford Management. “You want to look at someone holistically. Check all their references. Are they stable emotionally? What’s their credit history? Do they know C.P.R.? Just one isolated incident can ruin a child’s life.”

The best-known problems, though, are hiring undocumented workers and not paying household help legally. Staffing firms say that while they make sure the people they place have proper documents, it is not their responsibility to address how the workers are paid.

“We offer a payroll service that is geared toward domestic staff,” Mr. Greenhouse said. But some clients, he said, do not want to be told how to pay the people they employ.

“They want their staff and want to pay them however they want,” he said. “We don’t advise that. But you can’t twist their arms. They want to do it the way they want to do it.”

It is hard to believe that anyone thinks it is all right to employ illegal household staff or pay them under the table. But the chances of getting caught are low.

Timothy F. Geithner’s confirmation hearings for Treasury secretary got bogged down in 2009 when it came out that he had employed a housekeeper whose working papers expired while she worked for him. And plenty of people in the wealthier suburbs around New York, where Mr. Geithner lived, blithely ignore the requirement to withhold income taxes for their nannies. But why?

“There is a knowledge gap and this perceived hassle factor,” said Mr. Dommert of the Lindquist Group.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=a52c218a603eb88d7fa3affbb24d1865

Wealth Matters: Avoiding Legal Issues When Managing Household Staff

But this column is for the other people who employ household help — housekeepers, nannies, chefs, butlers and estate managers. Their problems are more about being compliant with employment and tax laws and ensuring low turnover.

“There is no rocket science in our business,” said Travis Dommert, chief operating officer of the Lindquist Group, one of the oldest placement firms for household help in the country. “It’s about how you hire, manage and retain good people and not get sued in the process.”

Yet otherwise smart, wealthy people seem to have a harder time managing their household employees than the people they work with in their day jobs. Here are some tips for people planning to hire household help.

NECESSITY VS. LUXURY During the recession, the market for household help was the inverse of other markets: middle- and upper-middle-class consumers kept it afloat, while the wealthiest cut back.

“Housekeeping and nanny requests are what kept us going through the recession,” said Keith Greenhouse, president of the Pavillion Agency, a 50-year-old domestic staffing firm in New York.

The reason, said Mr. Greenhouse and others, is that many middle- and upper-middle-class couples need a housekeeper or a nanny so they can continue to work.

“For most families with household staff, help is not a luxury but a necessity,” said Kathleen English, who has worked with members of the Rockefeller family and now runs the English Household. “Let’s look at what we’re talking about here. This category encompasses your babysitter, your cleaning lady, the helpmate for your mom, the folks who cut your grass and help keep your house running smoothly while you work.”

She said many of her clients had tried hard to retain their help during the downturn.

Among the wealthiest, though, a full accoutrement of servants is either less appealing or an expense they no longer want.

“I think people’s lifestyles have changed,” Ms. English said. “While Prince Charles employs several hundred staff, William and Kate are more modern, live with less and are more casual in their lifestyles. Household staffing needs are beginning to reflect this modern view.”

Acknowledging this, Mr. Greenhouse said his firm had added a training school that employers could use to teach their existing household workers different skills — and reduce the need to hire additional people. He cited the example of a longtime housekeeper who doesn’t have the skills to serve a formal dinner.

COMMON MISTAKES Many affluent Americans are apt to skip over the logistical details when they deal with their household employees. They may rush the hiring process, run afoul of labor laws or create an unnecessarily stressful situation.

In interviewing candidates, the most common mistake people make is not being thorough. “They overlook qualifications and background checks,” said Kim Cassford, a former private chef and house manager who co-founded the staffing firm Cassford Management. “You want to look at someone holistically. Check all their references. Are they stable emotionally? What’s their credit history? Do they know C.P.R.? Just one isolated incident can ruin a child’s life.”

The best-known problems, though, are hiring undocumented workers and not paying household help legally. Staffing firms say that while they make sure the people they place have proper documents, it is not their responsibility to address how the workers are paid.

“We offer a payroll service that is geared toward domestic staff,” Mr. Greenhouse said. But some clients, he said, do not want to be told how to pay the people they employ.

“They want their staff and want to pay them however they want,” he said. “We don’t advise that. But you can’t twist their arms. They want to do it the way they want to do it.”

It is hard to believe that anyone thinks it is all right to employ illegal household staff or pay them under the table. But the chances of getting caught are low.

Timothy F. Geithner’s confirmation hearings for Treasury secretary got bogged down in 2009 when it came out that he had employed a housekeeper whose working papers expired while she worked for him. And plenty of people in the wealthier suburbs around New York, where Mr. Geithner lived, blithely ignore the requirement to withhold income taxes for their nannies. But why?

“There is a knowledge gap and this perceived hassle factor,” said Mr. Dommert of the Lindquist Group.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=a52c218a603eb88d7fa3affbb24d1865