When talking about a deal she recently hammered out with Unilever, longtime Turner Broadcasting executive Linda Yaccarino says, “I'm especially proud of that.” The conglomerate's hair-care brand Sunsilk, set to launch next month, will partner with Turner to produce 2½-minute episodes of a scripted advertising series called Sunsilk Presents Max and Katie.
The series will air on TBS following syndicated episodes of HBO's Sex and the City and on broadband, as well as in retail venues such as Wal-Mart TV's in-store network.
In her 13 years with Turner (excluding a year with CNBC), Yaccarino, 43, has had much to be proud of.
As executive VP and general manager for Turner Entertainment Sales and Marketing for TNT and TBS, she has helped the company rake in more than $1 billion in advertising sales with integrated marketing deals like the Unilever venture.
Yaccarino has wrangled branded marketing and advertising deals for Sex and the City with the likes of Garnier Fructis, Bacardi and Mitsubishi Motors. And Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation, the made-for-Turner movie series she negotiated with the medical-supplies giant, has been going strong for seven years.
“We have virtually 100% renewal on our marketing partnerships,” Yaccarino says. She makes deals that she insists are more than just a media buy and the cold calculation of cost per thousand viewers (CPM). “Nobody just wants to grind CPMs,” she says firmly.
Robert Riesenberg, president/CEO of Omnicom Group's Full Circle Entertainment, has known Yaccarino for years and worked with her on the Johnson & Johnson deal when he was at Universal McCann.
“Linda is the perfect combination of being an entrepreneur and a top TV executive who has to tow the line,” Riesenberg says.
One of Yaccarino's earliest successes in brand marketing was Dinner and a Movie. Now in its tenth year, Dinner is one of the longest-running shows built around branded entertainment and regular integrated deals with advertisers.
But of all her successes at Turner, the mother of two is perhaps proudest of achieving a balance between her work and her life at home.
“At Turner, we call it 'learning,'” Yaccarino says. “I have 'learned' so much to juggle this job with kids and being a mom.
“But one of the major things I've learned is that, with incredibly smart people, you can build an unconditional support team. They allow me to do my thing.”