As music outpaces sports as 2012's fastest-growing sponsorship category (according to marketing analytics firm PQ Media) Creative Artists Agency's Laura Hutfless, 30, is on the front lines of where some brands' biggest spending shifts are taking place-oftentimes in tandem with marketers' sports investments.
Case in point: a recent program for State Farm that combined music clients John Legend and Scotty McCreery and the Philadelphia Phillies' Ryan Howard. "I talk to the sports guys all the time-probably at least once a day," Nashville-based Hutfless says. "We talk to the same people, so if they're buying sports then they're buying music as well, and if they're not then they're interested in it."
Hutfless and her team have also become music agents not just for talent but for the brands themselves. Example: ConAgra Foods, which was looking to develop a musical identity around its Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. Hutfless was able to bring CAA clients Jewel, Jay Sean and Owl City together to write and record an original song, "Here's Hope," that became the campaign's theme and was successful enough that ConAgra renewed the program with CAA for a second year. Other recent artist/brand pairings include Demi Lovato and Hallmark, Zac Brown and Ram Trucks, and Amy Grant with Athena Water and the National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners.