Exclusive: On “The Legend” and İzzet Pinto

Exclusive: On “The Legend” and İzzet Pinto
In this piece, I want to tell you about İzzet Pinto and his work, especially his new format "The Legend”. As soon as we set foot in Cote d’Azur Airport at Nice this year to attend the MipTV fair held in Cannes, we were surrounded by ads for “The Legend”, and the drive after the airport was no different either. There were billboards and displays of “The Legend” everywhere. I then grew curious about all that “we-aren’t-just-looking-for-the-greatest-singer, we-create-legends” claim. The ads bear the sign of Global Agency: the agency that the entire industry is already familiar with, as well as the average television audience because they sold “Magnificent Century” to the rest of the world.

In a way, the story of “The Legend” is story of determination that is cultivated into the professional life by Global Agency; by İzzet Pinto and his team of 25 people, who rose to popularity via TV shows they sold abroad and made a name for themselves. Before I went to Cannes, we had arranged a coffee meeting with Pinto. I had the chance to meet him at last year’s MIPCOM for the first time and I was deeply impressed by the success story that I hadn’t listened personally from him, but it was apparent from the streets of Cannes. Aside from the activities that the country of honor Turkey organized at last year’s fair, we had been awestruck by the Magnificent Century: Kosem launch...

The launch for Magnificent Century: Kösem would need to be focused on separately, so we’ll stick to our topic for now. As we had arranged in advance, we met with Pinto at Mocca at the last day of the fair which was just as hectic and intense as last year’s MIPCOM, though not as crowded.

Pinto talking about "The Legend"

İzzet Pinto is one of those people who is in love with what he does. As he talks, I can’t help but think to myself “if you do your job with such passion, it is impossible to fail”. Ten years ago when he had just 500 euros in his pocket, he got ten thousand euros of financial aid from a close friend (mind you: not a ‘loan’, because he agreed to pay double if he made it whereas if he failed, he warned his friend of the risk of never getting it back), loaded up the banners for the only format he had obtained thus far, settled in the cheapest, remotest and the smallest corner of the fair. Today, his company is a million-dollar business that sells formats and TV shows all over the world. “It was a 9 square-meter corner with no decoration whatsoever. My sister and I would tape up the same posters every morning which had fallen down the night before” he says with reminiscent eyes.

Pinto is one of those people who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth but chose to grow on his own. As a matter of fact, he succeeded in everything he took up. He told his cousin he would sell the book he/she wrote abroad and he did. One of his friends asked him why he didn’t do format trade and he said he would. “Back then I wasn’t familiar with the industrial jargon. I first had a Lebanese customer who liked the show but didn’t trust me to do business with and told me he’d visit me in my office. I had no office! I called one of my friends upon my return to İstanbul and asked to borrow his office. I took down his sign and everything. The customer visited and I sold the format. Years later in a chat, he told me that he had known at first glance that the office wasn’t mine” he says, thinking back to his first steps in the industry. He speaks with gratitude about the companies and people who believed in him as he thrived.