Into the Playground: Bringing the Paramount Brand Studio to life


Michael Stanford and Namita Sopal: “What we can offer has expanded so much so quickly”

Last month, Paramount Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) announced it had expanded its sales leadership team, and created two new divisions under Rod Prosser.

As part of the expansion, the team have launched the Paramount ANZ Brand Studio, overseen by Michael Stanford. The Brand Studio works to leverage the power of Paramount brands – such as Network 10, Comedy Central, MTV, the Paramount Network, CMT, TV Land, VH1, Logo, AwesomenessTV, and Nickelodeon – to give clients access to IP opportunities, branded events, and campaigns.

Mediaweek spoke with Michael Stanford, head of Paramount ANZ Brand Studio, and Namita Sopal, head of advertising strategy about how the Brand Studio works and what it means for Paramount’s partners.

There are three pillars of the ANZ Brand Studio, led by Namita Sopal, head of advertising strategy, Tamar Hovagimian, head of integration and partnerships, and Rachael Brand, executive producer. For clients engaging with the team, Stanford says that every aspect of the story they want to tell is covered.

Stanford: “What we can offer has expanded so much so quickly, so it’s really in response to how we’ve grown. With the three areas, the great thing for us is to bring those together. From Namita’s team, in terms of strategy, it’s almost that they help find the story, Tamar’s team around integration as about how we embed that story, and you could look at content in terms of how we tell that story. 

“From a personal point of view, being able to see people who are deeply skilled in their areas, and being able to now demonstrate those skills in other areas of the business is really exciting.”


Tamar Hovagimian, Michael Stanford, Rachael Brand, Rod Prosser, Namita Sopal

The business has evolved a lot in the past couple of years, alongside the Paramount offering. This evolution impacts all levels of the business, and both Sopal and Stanford say that it’s a positive for brands working with the team.

Sopal: “This is a natural direction. We’ve got tentpole formats, we’ve got global brands, we have these IP opportunities – we call it our playground, and it’s gotten so much bigger. It was a natural evolution to work more agnostically. 

“As a team, we talk a lot about how can we help embed brands in cultural conversations. We know that we have that fandom, and that fandom really presents a significant opportunity for brands. This coming together of our teams just better places us to be responding to those briefs.”

Stanford: “We feel that we’re able to ask more questions – can we create an IP opportunity that goes in store? Can we look at a live event? Can we look at a great integration opportunity in one of our tentpole formats? Can we look at something that can reach outside Australia? Or can we do all of those things together? We’ve got so much knowledge and experience, but also this new lease on life.”

Of course, Paramount ANZ is only one branch of the wider global business, something that Sopal and Stanford take advantage of for their clients where they can.

Sopal: “We’ve been working really closely with our international counterparts – that’s an opportunity to learn, to deepen our category knowledge, and where possible to share the brief. Having that global network is a significant opportunity for that learning, that only better places us to come with solutions that are first to market, that are true to what the client is looking for, and looks at the challenge in a new and different way.”

Stanford: “Because we’re part of this incredible global network and we are this significant content powerhouse, it’s also about looking at the opportunity in terms of being an advertising powerhouse. Something that’s really exciting is the connection with fans, as Namita just talked about – how they lean in more, they’re more engaged. That fandom really is a significant opportunity for brands.”

See Also: “We’ve got some lofty goals”: Behind the new-look Paramount sales team


Wider Paramount ANZ Sales Leadership Team L-R: Michael Stanford, Grant Madigan, Shani Kugenthiran, Rachael Brand, Namita Sopal, Rod Prosser, Nick Bower, Diane Ho, Tamar Hovagimian, Ian Smith.

With a new structure comes new opportunities, for both the Paramount team and the clients they work with. What the pair want advertisers to know going ahead is that the team is working to re-energise and activate their brands.

Sopal: “We’re moving away from assets sold in isolation to opportunities where brand formats, channels, and platforms really mutually reinforce one another. We know that when we think about campaigns, if we can increase touch points across a campaign that really allows us to deepen the brand impact. 

We are together as one house with multiple opportunities, strings that we can pull to come together, with unique solutions across our playground.”

Stanford: “We do have a reputation for creating some fantastic work for clients. For us now, the goal really is to build upon that strength in terms of those strategic insights that can really impact business results. 

“Ultimately we are very strong believers in what clients really want and deserve. We talk about tailored approaches, but it really is about never looking at an off-the-shelf solution. We’re always focused on understanding what that client is looking for – whether it is responding to a challenge or proactively coming to them with an opportunity. We have a team that has worked with major brands in this country for a long time, so that access that we have to their insights and their business challenges, combined with some of those global insights really gives us a strong advantage in the market.”

Top Image: Michael Stanford and Namita Sopal

To Top