Matti Leshem is founder and CEO of the Los Angeles-based brand strategy company Protagonist. As a television and digital content veteran, Leshem has spent most of his adult life creating media. From music videos, television and feature films to Internet programming and branded entertainment, Leshem has been at the forefront of using media to generate and disseminate breakthrough concepts for the past 20 years.
In 2003, to address the radical change that had begun to affect the advertising industry, in particular the decline of the 30-second commercial and the rise of digital media, Matti founded Protagonist to develop and execute holistic solutions that truly engage and unite audiences. In a term coined by Leshem as ‘Brand Energy,’ the company creates brand-defining experiences for its partners by utilizing its broad expertise across multiplatform entertainment, technology, culture and advertising.
Matti has led a number of high-profile brand experiences for its blue-chip partners including Pepsi, Newscorp, Weight Watchers, MySpace, Acxiom, SoBe and Living Proof. He played a key role in developing celebrated campaigns including the ‘Pepsi Refresh Project,’ ‘Pepsi Play for a Billion,’ Mountain Dew’s ‘DEWmocracy,’ Living Proof’s first celebrity campaign with Jennifer Aniston and many more.
Prior to founding Protagonist, Leshem founded Cobalt Moon, one of Los Angeles’ first seminal interactive entertainment companies. He also launched and ran Barry Diller’s WAMI-TV (USA Broadcasting), an experimental television station where he oversaw the creation of more than 40 hours of original programming each week. Other previous endeavors include Anteye.com – a community-driven, Web-based studio committed to changing the traditional development and creative process – and Diplomatic, a multi-faceted production company, where Matti served as an executive producer on ESPN’s 2-Minute Drill, USA Network’s Smush, and the A&E documentary series Ultimate Reality.