New Firm Working to Hack Attention Hires Disney Ad Executive Brendan Ripp

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Brendan Ripp, former evp of corporate partnerships at Disney Advertising Sales, is joining a new investment firm called Attention Capital working on how best to capture consumers’ attention in an increasingly crowded media landscape.

Ripp will lead revenue strategy for the latest company founded by Joe Marchese, who also created the venture capital firm Human Ventures and co-founded the ad-tech company TrueX. Marchese launched Attention Capital in August to address “massive inefficiencies in how people’s attention is being extracted and traded in today’s market.”

“This is 100% what I wanted to do next: more entrepreneurial, less corporate, more fun,” Ripp said. “It feels to me like the ultimate next step.”

The company announced its first investment at the same time as its creation: a controlling stake in Tribeca Enterprises, which oversees the Tribeca Film Festival.

With this mindset, CEO Marchese plans to invest in media organizations and ad-tech companies to build out its portfolio. Ripp agrees there’s a lot of gray area when it comes to media measurement.

“We’ve raced to measure media based on indicators that don’t necessarily mean anything,” said Ripp, who was highlighted as one of Adweek’s 27 Young Influentials in 2105.

Ripp and Marchese have already worked together, when Ripp was evp for National Geographic sales and partnerships under Marchese, then president of ad revenue at Fox. In two years, they were able triple digital revenue for National Geographic, according to Ripp.

At Attention Capital, Ripp hopes to continue using creative partnerships and thoughtful advertising to work with brands and startups that are have a real connection with their audiences to leverage that for revenue growth.

Ripp aims to win consumers’ attention by making advertising more seamless, pointing to the partnerships he forged at National Geographic as examples of what that might look like: During the solar eclipse in 2017, the publication paired science enthusiasts with the best way to see the blacked out sun courtesy of Airbnb. It also worked with Brita to promote water filters to cut down on the use of single-use plastic water bottles, and collaborated with Intel to send drones to film parts of Antarctica that are otherwise inaccessible to humans.

In addition to his work at National Geographic and Disney, Ripp worked as a group publisher for Sports Illustrated and held senior positions at Fortune and Time. He is a board member of several organizations such as Concern Worldwide and the American Advertising Federation. In 2018, he was named vp of North America for the global board of the International Advertising Association.

Ripp joins Attention Capital co-founders Nick Bell, former vp of content at Snap Inc., and Ashlyn Gentry, former svp at Palantir.

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