LOS ANGELES, April 30—The convergence of consumer marketing, entertainment and technology has been a compelling force for several agencies in recent years, with top tier firms such as Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and Weber Shandwick Worldwide making significant west coast acquisitions to bring together the right blend of talent. Now GCI Group has made its move, eschewing the acquisition route and instead partnering with former Sony communications chief Jerry Giaquinta.

Giaquinta, whose experience with Sony Pictures Entertainment, technology leader Silicon Graphics and consumer brands such as Toyota, may give him the perfect blend of experience for this new niche, is establishing a new consulting firm, The Giaquinta Group. It will specialize in strategic marketing and communication for what he calls the “digital lifestyle” and will partner with GCI when clients need national or international reach.

“Jerry Giaquinta is in a unique position to help us go after the digital lifestyle space,” says GCI North America president Bob Pearson. “If you look at all the content going into the home, and all the technology that is used to deliver it, there’s a lot of business out there from technology and entertainment and consumer companies looking to capture the attention of the digital consumer. Jerry has just the right blend of experience to capture that business.”

Giaquinta most recently served as executive vice president, corporate communications for Sony Pictures Entertainment where he was responsible for directing all aspects of corporate communications at the studio including motion pictures, television, home video, and digital entertainment operations. He also served as liaison with other Sony companies. His previous experience includes corporate positions with Silicon Graphics, Tandem Computer Toyota Motor Sales, and Mercedes-Benz, and agency experience as head of Chia/Day’s Bob Thomas & Associates.

“I have worked in Silicon Valley extensively and I have worked in the entertainment world,” says Giaquinta. “In the entertainment industry in particular, having that insider status is essential. It’s very difficult to build relationships with the Hollywood community from Silicon Valley. There’s always that perception that you’re an outsider.”

Giaquinta will be aided in his efforts to establish relationships in both worlds by an advisory council that includes giants from the technology, entertainment, and consumer marketing worlds, including Chiat/Day founder Jay Chiat; technology public relations guru Regis McKenna; Mike Medavoy of Phoenix Pictures; and Pete Sealey, director of the center for marketing technology at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Says Pearson, “The advisory council will provide tremendous intellectual capital in terms of thinking about what the trends are the digital lifestyle space and their insight into the marketplace. We want to be able to identify the important trends before they happen.”

Giaquinta says he chose GCI as his agency partner because of its “agility, knowledge sharing philosophy, and fast growth.” In addition, he says, he liked the fact that GCI parent Grey Advertising operates a single PR firm, a single advertising agency, and a single interactive group, unlike other major holding companies that operate multiple brands. “I thought there was more chance of striking up real partnerships,” he says. “There less chance of getting lost.”
The Giaquinta Group will work particularly closely with GCI’s global technology practice, which represents clients already in the digital lifestyle space, including Intel, Alta Vista, MP3.com, Vodafone, and Bell South.