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Meet Dennis Dembia of Rogers & Cowan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dennis Dembia.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My career in the entertainment industry began when I joined Artisan Entertainment, which at the time was one of the top independent movie studios in the business. It was just after the studio released ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and I moved to New York City to work in the studio’s corporate communications division. I had no experience, no connections and knew nothing about this business. The only thing I really had going for me was a very strong work ethic (I credit to Midwest (Ohio) upbringing), a true love of movies, and an extremely strong motivation to simply avoid failure.

It wasn’t easy at all. Mistakes were made – but valuable lessons learned with each one, and I was quickly able to apply what I was learning and make sense of the job. After a year working in New York, I was offered the opportunity to transfer to the company’s Los Angeles headquarters. There was no hesitation on my part. Like any kid growing up in small town Ohio watching CHIPS, BAYWATCH, THE A-TEAM, etc., I was entranced with L.A. and was more than willing to give it the old ‘try for a few months’ treatment.

I haven’t looked back. Over time, I continued to learn the business, work on my craft, establish relationships, observe the industry, and apply skills that allowed me to become an effective communications executive.

After three years working in-house at Artisan Entertainment, I made a jump to agency life – accepting and offer to work at a boutique agency specializing in international marketing and publicity. This agency was based in Hollywood. The international aspect of the job appealed to me, as did the international travel.

The film industry is a global industry and the move to agency life, and to dealing with clients spanning the globe was an eye opener. I knew I had to work even harder at that point. But I began appreciating the business even more at this point in my career and was excited for what the future could bring. Well, the future was shaped for me when the agency I worked for was acquired by Rogers & Cowan, the greatest entertainment PR and marketing firm in the world. We were to become the ‘international’ division – and I was in charge of overseeing our international corporate client work in the movie space.

This was 13 years ago! Not enough space to cover all that has happened over the course of these 13 years, the short of it is that I continued to work very hard on behalf of my clients and now I run the global corporate entertainment practice here at the agency.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Smooth roads are too easy. At this point in my career, I’m pretty accustomed to the gravely roads that have construction barriers, danger signs, animal crossings, and no speed limits. That’s my not so subtle hint at saying the entertainment business is a constant struggle and test of nerves. The road of the entertainment professional today is akin to ‘Mad Max: Fury Road” – every day. We have to adapt to the disruptiveness of the business, the democratization of content creation, shifts in audience behaviors and consumption habits, economic spikes and dips of varying severity, new media landscapes, social media upheaval, and everything in between.

But I love it all. Smooth roads are boring, right? Overcoming struggles and obstacles is a very rewarding and gratifying feeling.

Please tell us about Rogers & Cowan.
Rogers & Cowan is the world’s leading entertainment publicity and marketing agency. We are involved in anything touching the world of entertainment. Movies, television, music, gaming, talent, events, brands, fashion, technology – we’re at the center of it all. At our core, we specialize in helping our clients become relevant in the cultural conversation, and connect them to their audiences for greater levels of engagement. We harness the power of influencers, talent, content, media, brands, and technology to develop the narratives that shape pop culture. We’re not just on top of what’s trending, authentic and hot right now—we create it.

I oversee Rogers & Cowan’s global corporate entertainment practice, handling worldwide marketing and publicity initiatives for our highly respected roster of clients in the film and television space. I manage long-term strategic campaign initiatives for leading film and TV production companies, financiers, distributors, studios and sales companies and work with major international film festivals around the globe.

I suppose I’m known for being global minded, strategic and an expert in the film industry. I’ve seen and experienced a lot in my career…

We have the best clients in the world and are proud to be a part of their lives and businesses. Achieving great results for our clients gives us more pride than anything else.

In addition to our client work, I am proud of the way the agency has evolved and grown to meet the demand of a chaotic entertainment industry that changes monthly it seems.

There are several characteristics, practices and service offerings that allow Rogers & Cowan to proudly stand out in the ever-expanding, and highly competitive entertainment ecosystem.

First, it’s simply the talent within our own walls. Rogers & Cowan is the home of the most driven, intelligent and talented publicists in the business today. The collection of industry experience and expertise is unmatched. It’s been this way for over 60 years! It’s a team-oriented, all-star cast of people who love what they do.

Secondly, we have very deep resources that few companies can match. When these resources are made available to the aforementioned all-star cast of publicists and marketers, great results are achieved.

For example, we have global research data and analysis tools that help us understand the factors that affect brands including lifestyle habits, purchase behaviors and traditional and digital media engagement. Our media databases are global, and our analysis and reporting capabilities are beyond exceptional. We can offer extensive entertainment industry research with data that leads to insights across celebrity awareness, appeal and attributes, brand endorsements and relationships, and entertainment, fashion and event campaigns.

This allows us to provide our clients with insightful research and strategic communications structured around solid storytelling and a creative commitment to big ideas.

Our knowledge of the industry and powerful relationships with the media means our clients get the right coverage – traditional print, media, broadcast, digital and social – to engage people’s interest and drive positive conversation.

What are your plans for the future? What are you looking forward to or planning for – any big changes?
My mindset is to assess, adapt, innovative, and grow.

I’m a very active person, and Rogers & Cowan is not an agency that stands still. While continuing to represent our clients with integrity and class and provide the best-in-class publicity and marketing services that have set us apart for over half a century, we will look for growth opportunities through every channel and lead innovation in the publicity and marketing space.

The one thing I really look forward to? That would be the day when teleportation arrives. Traversing the world is brutal!

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