Product placements are everywhere, from movies to TV to city buses. Now, Corbis — the Seattle-based digital image company backed by Bill Gates — is making a big move into that advertising arena with the purchase of Norm Marshall Associates of Los Angeles.
Terms of the deal are not being announced, but Norm Marshall’s 50 employees will join Corbis’ GreenLight unit. Mark Owens, president of Norm Marshall, will serve as senior vice president of entertainment for the combined unit. Corbis now employs 700 people worldwide.
In a statement, Corbis CEO Gary Shenk said that the new business unit will help brands “break through the clutter” of the advertising market.
““By combining NMA Group’s strengths in product placement and entertainment marketing with GreenLight’s expertise in celebrity and music clearances, we now offer unprecedented connectivity between global brands and the entertainment community,” Shenk said.
Norm Marshall — founded in 1979 — has represented brands such as General Motors, Puma and Heineken over the year. Among its recent campaigns have been product placements for Microsoft’s Kinect on the HBO comedy series Hung, and an appearance by Larry David at a Baskin Robbins on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
It marks the second acquisition for Corbis in the past six months. In July, the company acquired Splash News, a leading provider of celebrity photography.