Double Fusion Splits Sales Leadership

Julie Shumaker of GMDouble Fusion has added a pair of sales executives to its roster, naming Jana Friedman vice president of sales, casual games group and Aaron Lassila senior director of sales, core games group. The two hires are part of the in-game advertising company's strategy of grouping its sales teams by demographic and game type to better serve advertisers' needs.

"The decision to specialize our sales organization is about meeting the needs of buyers from a variety of audience segments, and not so much about the differences in game formats," said Julie Shumaker, SVP of advertising sales and general manager, core games group at San Francisco-based Double Fusion. "Take a client like P&G or Unilever. If we're working with their Old Spice or Axe brands, respectively, the hardcore, male gamer is clearly the target. They'd want to be in a game in the living room on that 47-inch HDTV screen. But for their cleaning products, they want to reach the household decision makers. And that's about building relationships and being in casual games that are part of their community."

Shumaker said the two new hires would be tasked with helping to groom the next generation of sales experts in their relative spaces--casual games and core games. "This is a new medium and there's absolutely a higher responsibility on the selling side to be an expert on the content," she said. "Whether it's having a rep who truly understands the PlayStation 'Home' experience, or one who can pinpoint which games and game formats would be best for a women's vitamin brand--that's the value proposition we're offering to the buyers."

In her new role, Friedman will manage the company's New York sales office, leading a team geared toward targeting teens and females ages 18-49 via casual games. She comes to Double Fusion from Electronic Arts (EA), where she most recently served as senior director of online ad sales. "The expansion of casual games from just the Web onto mobile, into social networking and even onto consoles like the Wii, is exciting," Friedman said. "They touch so many types of players, and offer opportunities to create sponsorships and integrations--not just putting media around games."

Meanwhile, Lassila will tackle leading a sales team that is focused on delivering ads with traditional "core gamers," or males ages 18-34, with a particular focus on the company's newly launched deal to place ads in Sony PlayStation 3 games.

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