Vice President, Head of Business Affairs

Wunderman Thompson

Department: Creative

Location: New York, NY, United States

Who we are:

At Wunderman Thompson we exist to inspire growth for ambitious brands. Part creative agency, part consultancy and part technology company, our experts provide end-to-end capabilities at a global scale to deliver inspiration across the entire brand and customer experience.

We are 20,000 strong in 90 markets around the world; our people bring together creative storytelling, diverse perspectives, inclusive thinking, and highly specialized vertical capabilities to drive growth for our clients. We offer deep expertise across the entire customer journey, including communications, commerce, consultancy, CRM, CX, data, production, and technology.

Who we are looking for:  

The VP, Head of Business Affairs (HoBA)is the gatekeeper for outward facing work, ensuring that WT has all appropriate checks and balances in place prior to creative IP being distributed for public consumption. The Head of Business Affairs is an expert on the SAG Commercials contract, anticipates union moves and trends, and can provide swift pragmatic commercial advice.  The HoBA is a master negotiator for talent contracts, production contracts and music licensing. The HoBA also has their finger on the pulse of emerging media and trends as it relates to content production and understands the risks and rights management associated with any type of production work. The HoBA must strike a balance between risk mitigation and enabling great creative work, ensuring that the business runs as effectively as possible.   

What you’ll do:  

  • Manage a team of business affairs managers across the WT North American network.
  • Collaborate with discipline leads and producers across the network to ensure the viability of any type of creative idea prior to execution.
  • Review creative materials and advise Agency teams on talent, copyright and intellectual property issues and advise on next steps (in tandem with agency legal counsel).
  • Review vendor agreements to ensure compliance with Client SOWs and MSAs in tandem with agency legal counsel.
  • Trademark searches for proposed branding, tag-lines, signage, design etc in tandem with agency legal counsel.
  • Manage intellectual property rights and clearance acquisitions.
  • Negotiate and oversee the creation of celebrity and over-scale agreements.
  • Partner with Agency legal counsel on issues including contracts, updating releases, contract templates, risk assessment and indemnifications.
  • Coordinate with Risk Strategies insurance team to evaluate production and contract concerns as necessary.
  • Review AICP, AICE, animation and music bids with Producer.
  • Review final estimate and caveats with Producer prior to submitting to Client for signature.
  • Create and issue appropriate award documents including production contract, insurance, licensing and talent agreements and vendor purchase orders.
  • Review and assess scripts, rough-cuts and final creative for risk or clearance concerns.
  • Participate in project scoping discussions, providing producers and Client teams with accurate estimates for talent session fees, usage, residuals, and all other talent and music related costs of production.
  • Advise agency teams and Clients on union rules, regulations and best practices.
  • Issue talent contracts and session reports. Pay session, holding fees, usage and renegotiations in compliance with SAG/AFTRA/ACTRA and AFofM guidelines.
  • Evaluate and manage union claims, audits or reporting requests.
  • Create and negotiate music vendor agreements.
  • Issue talent agreements and foreign talent contracts.
  • Handle all re-negotiation for talent and music.
  • Work with Producers to monitor cost actuals through close of job.
  • Process production invoices, including generating vendor purchase order.
  • Work with internal Finance from pre-bill through project completion.
  • Create AD-IDs for spots.
  • Proactively manages all account transition documentation

Who you are: 

  • Detail-oriented | This role requires a natural problem solver and someone who is inquisitive and enjoys creating innovative solutions.  
  • Versatile | Able to wear many hats to create innovative work. Switches gears with ease between production responsibilities and organizational duties. Comfortable leading the production process from time to time. Highly organized.
  • Innovator | A creative maker. You have an insatiable creative curiosity. Quick on your feet but enjoy keeping the process in check whenever possible.
  • Connector | A multitasker with excellent communication and problem solving skills who strives for executional excellence in support of bringing the team’s vision to life.
  • Open and collaborative | Our team is close-knit and supportive and we’re working with a lot of unknowns – you must champion of team environments that are comfortable and encouraging. 
  • Optimistic and resilient | Dig in and figure out how to work around problems. Yes and why not posture. Takes care of self and team. Balance needed to maintain stamina and positivity. 
  • Ego-less| We all wear the hats that need wearing, it’s a mentality that makes the team successful. 

What you’ll need:  

  • Minimum of 10 years at an advertising agency in a senior business affairs manager or director of business affairs manager role.
  • Experience in all aspects of production including but not limited to live action production, stills, out of home, print, digital, event, experiential, user generated content, speculative executions, podcasts and other areas of emerging media.
  • Knowledge of music licensing, stock footage licensing and intellectual property licensing. Ability to summarize and clearly communicate complex advertising and clearance standards.
  • Understanding of copyright, trademark, and network clearance procedures.
  • Knowledge of/experience with the production process, production and post-production bids.
  • Knowledge of the SAG/AFTRA/AFM commercial contracts, advertising standards and best practices.
  • Ability to take initiative, think independently and exercise sound judgment while also knowing when to seek advice of legal counsel and other team members.
  • JD preferred but not required

Wunderman Thompson is an equal opportunity employer and considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion or belief, sex, age, national origin, citizenship status, marital status, military/veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability, or other protected group status.  We believe in creating a dynamic work environment that values diversity and inclusion and strives to recruit a diverse slate of candidates to help us achieve that goal.

At Wunderman Thompson, we are committed to actively building a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace where everyone feels welcomed, valued and heard, and is treated with dignity and respect.  As leaders and creative partners across industries, it is our responsibility to cultivate an environment reflective of our greatest asset; our people. We believe that this commitment inspires growth and delivers equitable outcomes for everyone as well as the clients and communities we serve.

Wunderman Thompson is a WPP agency.  For more informationplease visit our website and follow Wunderman Thompson on our social channels via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.  

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