The marketing event that Brian Feit’s BMF Media produced in September to publicize the third Amazon Prime Video runway special for the musical artist and fashion/beauty mogul Rihanna’s new lingerie line, Savage x Fenty, was tonally perfect for the artist and the product: as Adweek put it, “…models and dancers of all genders and body types performed” in the windows of a building in New York’s hip Soho neighborhood, while modeling items from the new line. Bathed in red light, the street theater not incidentally called to mind Amsterdam’s Red Light District, taking the concept of window shopping to the next level. And yes, the event stopped traffic.
Feit has been bringing that level of panache to brands since striking out in 2003 to establish BMF alongside his co-founding partner and fellow NYU alum, Bruce Starr. The agency, which is certified by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), has a strong global presence with over 40 full-time staffers in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and London. It produces brand marketing events and “activations”—along with headline grabbing PR campaigns and thumb-stopping social influencer content— in about 20 countries each year. “We have our finger on the pulse of culture globally and are helping our brand partners rise above the noise and inspire action from best-fit audiences—whether that be B2B, B2C, or B2B2C. We’re culturally attuned and 360 degrees—strategy, execution, and amplification,” Feit said.
A St. Louis native, Feit became enamored of the music industry as a young teen, and by the time he graduated from NYU Stern, he had not only worked for Mercury Records as a campus representative, but connected with music industry legend Clive Davis (WSC '53, HON '11), who hired him as an intern at Arista Records. Feit’s first client when he started BMF with Starr was Madonna and Maverick Records.
Innovation comes naturally to Feit. Publicists for musical artists used to distribute CDs in plain jewel cases and manilla envelopes to attract brand interest—BMF began mailing them in elaborately themed packages, which became the industry standard. BMF hit upon the idea of creating VIP afterparties —dubbed “Music Lounges”—at major rock festivals. Lady Gaga’s first US performance was at one of BMF’s Music Lounges in Miami.
The agency expanded beyond the music industry and now handles clients in sectors as diverse as financial services, streaming services, wine & spirits, and travel and tourism. When Café Bustelo, the Cuban espresso brand, wanted to expand its customer base, BMF ensured it was front and center at the Coachella festival, including creating a coffee and vodka cocktail called the Dirty Bustelo. While BMF are the initials of Feit’s name, he said he likes to think they also represent brands-music-fusion.
Feit’s mentor at Stern—and still a good friend—is Professor Al Lieberman, the executive director of the School’s Entertainment, Media and Technology Program, who supervised Feit as he honed his leadership skills and gained confidence as president of STEBA, the Stern & Tisch Entertainment Business Association. Feit participates in School events and on panels, during which he advises students to be appropriately clever and original when seeking jobs, keep track of contacts, network and nurture relationships, and take advantage of internships.
Brian Feit (BS ’00) Built His Brand and Experiential Marketing Company into a Magnet for What’s Cool
Wednesday, December 1, 2021