Name That Expert
What would Martha Stewart's media company look like without its namesake? Perhaps a bit like Branded Media Corp. The Madison Avenue operation uses a similar model to Stewart's, building celebrity-cum-expert brands through television, and then attaching the monikers to an array of consumer products. But it deploys a broader array of tactics. "Martha's business really depends on Martha," says Todd Schwartz, BMC's senior vice president. "We think it's much better to diversify [our] portfolio."
BMC has deals with bridal expert Sandy Ferreira, best known for making it to the finals of "The Apprentice"; the "Two Meatballs," New York restaurateurs Pino Luongo and Mark Strausman; and Chef Jacques, the chef at L'Auberge Chez Francois in Washington, D.C.
In all three cases, BMC plans to make these connoisseurs household names by producing TV series around them. BMC hope to make Chef Jacques the star of "A Bite of History," being developed for The History Channel later this year. A line of cookware, spices, and appliances is planned around the series.
For Ferreira, BMC plans a reality show and a brand of bridal products. Meanwhile, the "Two Meatballs" are angling for a pbs series and a national chain of restaurants. "The Olive Garden's been very successful, but we think there's space for another Italian family restaurant," says Schwartz. For all the time Martha spends in the kitchen, how come she never though of that?