Pictured: Lyla Foggia with client, E.T., on the set during the Halloween scene.
An expert in branding and strategic positioning through PR, former TriStar Pictures VP of Publicity and award-winning writer Lyla Foggia has been at the helm of over 200 national campaigns — many of them considered groundbreaking — for clients in film, television, technology, food and hospitality, the arts, publishing, and the outdoors. During a decade spent on studio staff in Los Angeles, she served on the core marketing teams for over 75 major motion pictures. Most important, as a copywriter, she was responsible for the messaging that powered most of them.
Her efforts have led to prominent coverage in literally thousands of media outlets, including the Associated Press, Reuters, TIME, the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNN and all three television networks, as well as every daily newspaper in the country.
Foggia began her career in Seattle managing political campaigns and working as a freelance journalist—including as the visual arts critic for the Seattle Sun alternative weekly, for which she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship.
After relocating to Los Angeles, she was selected over dozens of experienced Hollywood publicists to join First Artists Productions, the company founded by Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, and Steve McQueen—simply because she could write.
Two years later, Foggia landed at Columbia Pictures in the dual capacity of staff editor responsible for the development of each film’s media kit (many of which she also wrote) and the national publicist assigned to pitching both the daytime and late-night TV talk shows. Just three of the two dozen films issued that year were "Kramer vs. Kramer," "China Syndrome" and "Electric Horseman."
Foggia was one of only two publicists invited to join Sherry Lansing at 20th Century Fox when Lansing made history as the first female head of a studio. Like she had done in the two previous positions, Foggia was in charge of the development of all the media kits, along with the studio’s broadcast publicity. Among the films released by Fox that year: "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”!
She next spent three years on sets and locations, working, directly with the filmmakers in ensuring that publicity did not get in the way of shooting while also conducting interviews with the actors and, once again, writing the media kit. Among those she spent months with were Steven Spielberg and “E.T.—The Extra-terrestrial,” Ron Howard and “Splash,” John Badham and WarGames, Martin Ritt and “Cross Creek,” and Walter Hill and “Southern Comfort.”
Foggia was then recruited by ABC Motion Pictures (a division of ABC Television) to step in at the last minute to helm the national campaign for its first major release, Mike Nichols’ "Silkwood," starring Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell and Cher. Within a month, the permanent position of Director of Publicity was created for her, followed by an invitation a year later to join TriStar Pictures as the Vice President of Publicity and second in command of their national division.
After ten years in the film industry, Foggia and her husband, Kelly Neal, opted to return to their native Northwest. In the midst of the move, she was recruited to solve an escalating international media crisis that threatened to sink the first Titanic Expedition to pick up artifacts from the ocean floor. Mission accomplished in two weeks. Foggia went on to handle the international publicity for the two-hour global broadcast of "Return to the Titanic…LIVE" out of Paris – which continues to rank as the second-highest rated syndicated special of all time.
Nine months later, she was recruited by Disney to launch their new daytime show, "LIVE With Regis & Kathie Lee," into national syndication. During the next four years – while working from her Mt. Hood home, with frequent trips to New York and other locations – Foggia served as the chief architect of the groundbreaking campaign that played a strategic role in establishing "LIVE" as a daytime ratings institution. At the same time, she served as Regis Philbin’s and Kathie Lee Gifford’s personal publicist, pitching and negotiating their first-ever magazine cover stories (over a dozen in 15 months), including People, TV Guide, Ladies Home Journal, McCalls (twice), Good Housekeeping (twice), Redbook, Family Circle, and Parents – as well appearances on "Barbara Walters," among other network shows, and almost every daily newspaper in the country.
Foggia then spent two years researching and writing her landmark book, REEL WOMEN, published by Beyond Words and Random House.
Foggia was later enlisted by the producers of the primetime television show, "Babylon 5," to save their program from imminent cancellation. The campaign not only succeeded, but the weekly series went on to air another two years and resulted in a spin-off series and several movies of the week.
She subsequently returned to Los Angeles and joined a leading PR firm as Vice President of Entertainment, working closely with such clients as Martha Stewart Living Television, Walt Disney World Attractions Television, Cosmos Television, Hearst Entertainment, and Western International Syndication.
Widely regarded as one of the industry’s top copywriters, Foggia taught publicity writing online to students around the world for UCLA Extension for three years, and served as the in-house editor and staff writer at various companies.
She is also the author of the landmark book, Reel Women: The World of Women Who Fish, which chronicled the 500-year history of women in the sport for the first time. Among other honors, Reel Women was selected as one of the “Top 25 Best Fishing Books in Print” (out of 2400 titles) by Field & Stream magazine.