National CineMedia's Amy Tunick on Modernizing Pre-Show Movie Entertainment

Plus, entertainment partnerships and branded content as a path to audience connection

Amy Tunick joined National CineMedia, the cinema advertising company, in August 2021 in the newly created role of SVP, chief marketing officer (CMO) and leads its integrated marketing team. She oversees NCM's B2B and B2C marketing, including brand, creative and content strategy, partnerships, events, studio relations and public relations, working collaboratively across the organization to drive innovation and strengthen its connection with consumers, brands and agencies.

Amy previously worked at WarnerMedia, where she led a 15-person team implementing custom cross-platform campaigns for domestic and global advertisers at CNN while overseeing operations and strategy for Courageous, CNN's brand studio. She also led event marketing for the news ad sales division and produced CNN's upfront event from 2018 to 2020.

Prior to WarnerMedia, Amy spent nearly 15 years as a senior leader on the agency side of the advertising business at Grey Group. Additionally, she is a founding member of Chief, a private network focusing on connecting and supporting female leaders pursuing and entering the C-suite and other senior leadership positions.

We spoke with Amy for our Backstory series, where we chat with folks in the entertainment industry about their creative inspirations and more. 

Amy, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Westchester County, New York, which is also where I live now.  I took a four-year detour to Philadelphia for college, followed by 17 years in NYC, before returning home.

Your first job in the industry. 

My first job was in the famed agent trainee program at the William Morris Agency, which was the oldest talent and literary agency in the world representing movie and TV stars, writers, directors, producers, playwrights and authors. All agent trainees started in the mailroom, and I went from getting an Ivy league college degree to delivering mail, checks and faxes. But I read every script I could get my hands on and networked with agents all day long! I moved up into the TV Literary Department, and then over to the Corporate Consulting group, which was a nascent business in those days … and that's what led me into branded entertainment and marketing.

A breakthrough moment in your career.

I spent nearly 15 years at Grey Global, the advertising agency, leading the Activation, PR & Talent department. One of the most important and meaningful moments of my career was when our breakthrough "Project Imagination" campaign for Canon USA featuring Ron Howard was short-listed for an Academy Award in the Live Action Short Film category!

Three movies you couldn't do without.

My all-time favorite movie is Back to the Future, because I love Michael J. Fox and the originality of the story.  I also am a huge fan of Dirty Dancing because "I carried a watermelon" is one of those quotable lines and I love the Catskills. And a more recent favorite film is Top Gun: Maverick, which broke so many records this year, including topping the box office over both Memorial Day and Labor Day! Tom Cruise has still got it.

Your favorite movie quote.

After "I carried a watermelon," I would go with Princess Bride "I'm not a witch, I'm your wife, and after what you just said I'm not sure I want to be that anymore." It's all in the delivery though.

Your favorite movie trailer or poster.

The trailer for The Social Network is amazing, compelling, and somewhat frightening … because we all know how the story turns out.

A classic TV show and a recent TV show that you loved.

A classic TV show that I truly loved is Party of Five. I actually wrote a letter to Fox when they took it off the air, explaining how huge an impact it had on me!  And a recent show I have been binging is Netflix's The Crown—sadly, it's timely.

A recent project you're proud of.

I am thrilled about the success we have had at NCM with The Noovie Trivia Show, a new series we created with Maria Menounos. This "show within our Noovie pre-show" features Maria quizzing celebrities and social influencers about their careers with thematic movie trivia. Featured talent includes Garcelle Beauvais, Christian Siriano and Abby Ryder-Fortson who stars in the upcoming film Are You There God, It's Me Margaret? We have seen several brands come on board to sponsor the series, and Noovie Studios—our in-house creative team—has also developed and produced custom movie trivia content for advertisers tied to the show. It's one of the first examples of our new marketing strategy coming to life—modernize and monetize the Noovie pre-show!

Someone else's project that you admired recently.

I love unexpected mashups. One recent campaign that stood out to me is the rebrand of Velveeta with their "La Dolce Velveeta" campaign, which depicts the glamour a Velveeta dish can bring to everyday settings. They brought it to life with a campaign inspired by photographic Gucci lookbooks and by launching quirky products, such as the Veltini, a Velveeta-infused martini, and cheese-scented polish with Nails Inc. The ads caught my eye and made me want to try it! 

One thing about how entertainment marketing is evolving that you're excited about. 

While it feels like it's been around for a while, there are still so many advertisers that have not yet adopted entertainment-driven partnerships and branded content as part of their media mix, and they are missing out. The young, diverse, content-hungry audiences that brands desire to reach are much more inclined to engage with brands that tap into the cultural zeitgeist and show up where they are. The evolution of entertainment marketing that excites me is simply that every year more brands embrace storytelling campaigns that infuse their values into their messaging. And where better to share that story—the big screen!

What would you be doing if you weren't in entertainment marketing.

Running a sleepaway camp!

Backstory is a weekly Muse series, publishing on Fridays, where we chat with folks in entertainment marketing about their creative inspirations, favorite movies, video games, trailers, posters and more. To learn more about Backstory or our Clio Entertainment program, please get in touch.

Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a contributor for Muse by Clio. She's also a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Media, Communication, and Information.

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