"It’s no accident that contestants of ‘The Apprentice,’ Donald Trump’s reality television show, designed the actual marketing brochures for a new Pontiac model. Or that the Man in the Yellow Hat in the recently released ‘Curious George’ movie drives a Volkswagen.
"They’re the results of a new type of promotional contract between advertisers and entertainment, loosely dubbed ‘branded entertainment,’ which is generating substantial revenue for many law firms throughout the United States.
"Most of the law firms that structure brand entertainment deals already have developed advertising and entertainment practices, typically in New York and Los Angeles. With branded entertainment deals, both departments are working closer together.
"’It’s been a tremendous growth area for us, without question,’ said Brian Murphy, a partner at New York-based Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz. ‘It’s given us an opportunity to take the expertise in the entertainment area and have those attorneys work closely with attorneys who’ve been working with brands for decades.’
"Linda Goldstein, chairwoman of the advertising, media and entertainment group and a partner in the New York office of Los Angeles-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, said that five years ago the firm handled few, if any, product placement deals. Now, about a half-dozen lawyers, split between the advertising group in New York and the entertainment group in Los Angeles, structure up to 25 deals a year."