Karen Sortito, 49, a movie-marketing executive best known for groundbreaking product tie-ins to James Bond films in the 1990s, died Monday of cancer at her New York City home, said her friend Terry Curtin, copresident of Cimarron Entertainment.
"She was a true pioneer in the world of branding," Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said in a statement.
As head of worldwide promotions for MGM/UA, Ms. Sortito blended the Bond character into TV ads and made a conspicuous BMW product placement in the 1995 film GoldenEye when Pierce Brosnan debuted as Bond - and drove a brand-new BMW Z3.
It marked the first time a car manufacturer had a full-fledged promotional tie-in with a theatrical feature, the Hollywood Reporter said in 1998.
One Visa ad showed Brosnan as Bond struggling to write a check without the proper ID. Another commercial, for Heineken, featured several regular Joes all named James Bond.
"It's seamless," Ms. Sortito said in 2003 in Advertising Age of the cross-promotional efforts she called "clutter busters."
Brandweek magazine named her entertainment marketer of the year in 1998.
- Los Angeles Times