The salesman behind Martha Stewart
Orlando Reece is Senior-VP broadcast sales at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia where he spearheads cross platform sales. The new season of Martha’s syndicated TV show kicks off September 14. Here this former Yahoo! and Disney Unlimited sales executive talks about brand integrations and the challenges of cooking.
Q: How is the syndication upfront going?
A: It’s going very well. Clients really want to work with Martha, so it’s moving along smoothly.
Q: And the rest of syndication?
A: This year it seems the tried and true shows are still coming in strong but syndication is all over the board. It’s not one place, the numbers range so it’s hard to say what’s real. Right now most syndicators are holding back. Of course we want to hold back units so we have enough when advertisers come in.
Q: Why do people want to attach themselves to the Martha brand?
A: Martha is someone who likes to teach, inform and inspire. She also wants people to share, and that’s great for advertisers; they’re a part of that. We’re about engaging and having people doing things, it’s not just passive TV. It’s about here’s how to make a meal or iron a shirt.
Q: We learned from Martha’s Twitter stream that the company recently had an advertising day. Tell us what that was about?
A: It was a private sales retreat to hear from Martha on where we were going, it was brand immersion. Martha is 100% advertising savvy, she’s very engaged with our clients.
Q: How does Martha engage advertisers?
A: We have advertisers to dinners [at her home] to get to understand what she’s about. It is not just stick up a brand, it’s that she wants to be part of it [the campaign] and understand. She wants to be behind it. The integrations she’s done, she really gets involved. For instance StarKist, they are doing on air re-branding and they have some new flavors, pouches, so we’ve been creating some menus with them in print, digital and TV.
Q: Why should an advertiser come to Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia?
A: When a client comes to us, we all talk with the producers. All our clients’ programs are unique, like a snowflake. If the client decides not to do it, we can’t give it someone else. We listen to our customers and give them what they want.
Q: What are the offerings at the company?
A: We own all of our platforms. The print titles which include Living, Weddings, Body & Soul; our TV shows, we own Everyday Food and Everyday Baking on PBS. There’s also Sirius XM Radio, and our last great property is our digital [Website] another place to get engaged in our products. We also own our properties.
Q: What brand integrations have you done?
A: We’ve got a diverse portfolio. We did some really unique things with 3M tapes and stickers and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, we put them into our “Dreamers and Doers,” show. M&M Mars was looking for something to push personalized M&Ms and Martha did a show about personalization. We used M&Ms in there. It wasn’t just ‘buy these M&Ms,” it was about creating something unique.
Another big deal was with Purina One; we used Francesca and Sharkey, Martha’s two dogs and created a site called the Daily Wag. The dogs are the hosts, there are pictures of animals and dogs talking about themselves.
Quaker also came back to do something with cooking and wanted to do same recipe. We created a new recipe for them. A lot of people like to repeat past success, we like to take it to the next level.
Q: What’s new for season five? Is the show changing in anyway?
A: It starts on September 14, and we’re doing a lot of great new things with our advertisers. The show is doing some little tweaks to get more into cooking and artisans and crafters and things Martha loves to do, to teach and inform and inspire and then it’s how do we share this?
Q: Tell us about what attracted you to the company?
A: My career, from being in cable and MTV networks then moving into integrated sales at ABC and doing cross-platform for nearly five years then stepping out and moving to Yahoo! and moving to scale, its always been about trying to help.
Martha has pulled everything together, the whole integrated world, we’ve got broadcast and radio and we work together to bring something to our advertisers. A lot of companies say they do that, but they have to work through [outside] people. We’re able to make and create that’s what I get excited about, doing something new and unique.
Q: Tell us something you learned from Martha?
A: I was out in Fire Island, New York and I’m not a great chef, I get very frustrated, but I took Everyday Food magazine and they had this amazing cover with steak and tomatoes and scallions. My housemates laughed and said, ‘there’s no way you’re cooking that.’ I have a picture of me with the magazine open and I’m cooking it straight from the recipe. It’s OK not to be the greatest cook, but anybody who hasn’t cooked can do something from Everyday Food. I showed Martha the picture and now everyone says if we can make Orlando cook, anyone can. I’ve become their postcard.