Entertainment marketing association Promax is expanding beyond television — and changing its name to reflect that evolution. As of Tuesday, Promax will now be known as the Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences, and restructure as a new organization adding film, music, sports and gaming verticals to its TV membership.
The new GEMA will undergo a complete structural overhaul as it moves away from just being a trade organization for TV marketers into an academy for entertainment marketers with a tiered membership structure. The new GEMA will also introduce a suite of marketing awards directed toward film, sports, music, video games and TV that will replace the current TV-focused Promax Awards.
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“From a music, video game, film and sports perspective, there really isn’t an organization dedicated to the marketers and creatives in marketing,” said Promax president Stacy La Cotera, who will now serve as president of GEMA. “Many of them are members of the other academies, but those academies are really focused on the makers of the crafts within those verticals, and not completely focused on the marketers and the creatives within marketing.”
Promax was first founded in 1956 as a non-profit association for broadcast TV promotion and marketing executives as the Broadcast Promotion Association, and later the Broadcast Promotion & Marketing Executives. The org changed its name to Promax (standing for “promotion and marketing executives) in 1993, then merged with the Broadcast Design Association in 1997, changing its name again to PromaxBDA. In 2019, the org dropped the “BDA” and reverted to “Promax.”
In expanding beyond television, this is by far the most extensive and aggressive rebrand in the org’s history. “As the industry has evolved and grown technologically and skillset wise, you’re finding a lot of individuals that are moving across spaces,” said Promax board member Scott Edwards, EVP, head of creative advertising at Fox. “As a long standing member of Promax, I’ve seen my team members long for insights to other disciplines and how they bring those things to market. How do they use music in the music space? What are the things they’re doing in the video gaming space that I can learn from and maybe apply here? There are so many similar pillars of conduct and behavior as a marketer that apply — the storytelling, the emotional connection to characters, meaningful narrative. So I think it’s it’s almost an unavoidable necessity to bring these things together in a more unified dialogue.”
The new academy model will include an application process based on professional qualifications, with membership tiers including “emerging,” “experienced,” “established,” “affiliate,” “student,” “educator,” “corporate” and an invitation-only “luminary” membership. Existing Promax members will be transitioned into the new membership tiers according to their qualifications.
“We’re creating tiers that are going to meet each individual where they are in their careers,” La Cotera said. “Before you could just pay to be a member of the organization. Now there’s an application process we want to make sure you’re appropriately placed within your membership tier.
“We are still looking to bring everybody together in a tentpole kind of event where you can knowledge share, learn, be inspired and obviously we are continuing to award excellence,” she added. “But now we are going to award excellence within all of these new verticals. And really shine light on the work that’s being done across music and film and video games and sports as well.”
The new GEMA awards will be timed to their respective fields’ awards seasons: Film during Oscar season; music during Grammys season; TV during Emmy season; and games in the fall, when the Video Game Awards take place.
Also as part of the switch to GEMA, the Promax board will be restructured to include representatives from the other verticals besides television and streaming. “We are in the process of elections for bringing in these people from the from new verticals to sit on our board of directors,” La Cotera said. “There is going to be subgroups of the board, which are governors that will be made up specifically of folks coming from those verticals… from a global perspective, we’re establishing chapters in various regions on each continent so that while you are a member of this global association, you know that there’s somebody locally regionally working to help fulfill your member benefits and who are in tune with what your specific challenges are within your regions.”
As for the new name and logo for the Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts and Sciences — which they admit is a mouthful — La Cotera said it was important for the org to highlight the fact that this an academy that recognizes both the business and creative aspects of marketing.
“I think our new name perfectly captures the essence and what our purpose was,” La Cotera said. “Being able to acknowledge both the strategic side of marketing and the creative side of marketing and acknowledging that marketing is an art and science.”
One small piece of the Promax name does remain: The new GEMA logo includes an “X” symbol that’s meant to both look like spotlights, and also the “X” from “Promax.” Membership to the non-profit org will open to its expanded scope starting today at gema.org.
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