M.T. Carney, one of the founding partners of the U.S. operations of ad shop Naked, has been named marketing chief of Disney’s film business, the studio confirmed today.
The news leaked out via the Hollywood blogosphere Tuesday, first broken by The Wrap.
She will now oversee estimated annual ad spending of $350-400 million in the U.S. alone. Her mandate is global in scope.
Carney (pictured) and Naked have made their mark as experts in communications planning, a relatively new strategic specialty that began to take off in the U.S. about five years ago after first taking root in Europe in the 1990s.
Naked was founded in the U.K. in 2000 and has operations in such far-flung locales as Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, as well as in New York, Tokyo, Paris and other locales in Europe.
The Photon Group of Sydney acquired Naked in 2008 more than $33 million, plus deferred payments tied to performance targets, the companies have confirmed.
Carney, Paul Woolmington and Neal Davies founded the U.S. operation in 2005 and made headlines in ’07 after being awarded a huge piece of the Johnson & Johnson communications planning account following a review. The shop has also counted Coca-Cola, Kimberly-Clark, Nike, American Express, Coty, Unilever and Lugz among its clients.
Prior to her role at Naked, Carney, a native of Scotland, was a senior planner at Interpublic’s Universal McCann.
“We’re extremely proud,” said Naked partner Woolmington. “And we see it as a win-win. It’s a credit to M.T. and it’s an endorsement of the Naked model and what we’ve done over the past four and a half years.”
Woolmington confirmed that Naked has done a small amount of project work for Disney in the past, but the studio is not a client per se. That could change, however. “We see this as an amazing opportunity,” he said, “to continue our collaboration [with Carney] in a new form.”
Woolmington said Carney’s departure would not have an impact on clients or staff. “We are more in demand than ever,” he said. “Our bench strength is immense.”
He said that the other partners had been clued in that Carney might make the move: “We’ve known about it, and it’s not a shock. We’re close partners.”
Disney said Carney would oversee all aspects of worldwide marketing and distribution for films released under the Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures nameplates.
“Just as we have looked at ways to restructure how we create and distribute our movies, we also needed to hire someone like M.T., who can lead our incredibly creative global marketing teams and ensure that our films reach audiences around the world,” Rich Ross, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, said in a statement.