Following a reorganization at Disney General Entertainment Content (DGE) in fall 2020 to wholly focus on the creation of television content for The Walt Disney Company’s streaming platforms and linear networks, Jayanta Jenkins, head of content marketing, Disney Branded Television and National Geographic, announced the structure for a new internal marketing and communications agency that merges the Disney Branded Television and National Geographic marketing and publicity teams.
Jenkins, in his own words, has gone from being a construction worker on brands to an architect and it shows. His visionary and innovative approach helped him to orchestrate a who’s who of team leadership, with an intention to bring unique experiences to Disney audiences.
The restructure shifted two senior executives to take on expanded roles and report directly to Jenkins. Chris Albert, most recently executive vice president, global communications for National Geographic Content (NGC), will now lead marketing strategy and communications for both Disney Branded Television and National Geographic Content including National Geographic Documentary Films. Chris Spencer, previously executive vice president, creative at National Geographic Content, each taking on expanded roles to lead teams within the new agency. Spencer now leads the story team and creative functions for Disney Branded Television and National Geographic Content.
Prior to joining Disney last year, Jenkins recently led Cheil Worldwide as global executive creative director on the Samsung Mobile account and formerly as global group creative director at Twitter. He’s no stranger to internal agencies and for him, the advantage of an internal agency is getting to work next to CMOs.
At Disney, Jenkins said, “we’re getting to be with the creators and I think there’s just such a profound advantage in that, versus having worked at agencies where you’re either a state away, or you’re not embedded in a way where you get to benefit from the way information moves and travels and the dynamic.”
He adds, “the benefit of all internal agencies are having that access and proximity to the information to help build and be supportive and do things dynamically.”
The formation of Jenkin’s integrated team is structured around functional expertise for creative and campaign development and execution to promote programming created by Disney Branded Television and National Geographic. The internal agency oversees creative marketing, publicity, media planning, events, talent relations and award strategies for all content created by DGE for Disney+ and the Disney- and National Geographic-branded networks. They’re responsible for developing and executing creative assets, experiences and campaigns to create awareness, drive tune-in, and build strong affinity for programming and franchises.
Several key factors were in play when Jenkins structured his all-star team. “Sorting for impact, strengthening and amplifying and really channeling. I have amazing leaders on that team. The org structure was really to further compliment the disciplines that existed and to again, align for what we need to do to further the growth of the teams and the growth of our business,” the internal agency leader said.
As the entertainment industry changes around companies like Disney+ and other streaming platforms. Jenkins sees opportunities to evolve, innovate and tactfully utilize technology to connect audiences in more meaningful ways to the brand. And he finds particular interest in how theatrical informs streaming.
“The one thing that I think is very unique is building worlds within worlds, which I think is such an interesting way too, as an acquisition for the subscribers and retention,” Jenkins told Marcom Weekly, in response to how he hopes to distinguish Disney+ among a crowded streaming business and grow its subscriber base. Much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “the opportunity for Nat Geo and Disney Branded Television are particularly compelling because the content we create can not only serve our audience on linear, but as Disney+ is the ultimate home to this content, we are building an entire branded content experience through the lens of these very unique brands. This deepens the audience proposition of where and how they can engage with the content.”
Jenkin’s and his team are already working together on several projects the first of which to go public is National Geographic’s “Genius: Aretha,” which first aired on National Geographic last month. The internal marketing agency will also oversee National Geographic’s upcoming Disney+ original “Welcome to Earth” and “Secrets of the Whales,” premiering on Earth Day 2021, as well as Disney Branded Television’s “Spin,” “Sneakerella” and “The Secret of Sulpher Springs.”
“It is a profoundly humbling opportunity to step into this role, surrounded by such an amazing team during such a revolutionary time for the industry, The Walt Disney Company, and our linear and streaming services,” said Jenkins. “When you look at the global brands that have paved the way in serving and connecting with the consumer, the Disney and National Geographic brands are among the most iconic. I look forward to charting the next chapter and continuing to elevate our reach and brand resonance.”