Interpublic is getting into the real-time brand “storytelling” game and has raided two former BBDO executives to field it. The new unit, dubbed Mediabrands Publishing, will function as part of the holding company’s Mediabrands division and will operate out of New York, reporting to Mediabrands North America CEO Jacki Kelley.
While the practices of “branded entertainment” and “content marketing” have been around as long as there have been brands, the goal of the new unit is to accelerate the process so that Interpublic clients can become real-time publishers of their own content.
“The idea of brands acting as publishers as a way to engage their consumers isn’t new, but there are few if any people actually helping them do it,” she states, adding: “in this new world, where speed and storytelling will win.”
In fact, a number of big agencies have formalized real-time brand storytelling service units, including Publicis’ Digitas, which launched its “Brand Live” platform for several Procter & Gamble brands more than a year ago, and Dentsu’s 360i, which is known for Oreo’s high-profile Super Bowl “blackout” moment.
“Brands have so many amazing stories to tell,” adds Teddy Lynn, one of the two BBDO execs recruited to run the new unit, and the one who will serve as chief creative officer.
A long-time content marketing executive at Omnicom’s BBDO unit, Lynn was responsible for such campaigns as AT&T’s @SummerBreak, a real-time reality series that is currently playing out across Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and Instagram.
The other former BBDO executive, Mark Himmelsbach, will serve as COO of Mediabrands Publishing.
Unlike old-school branded entertainment initiatives that generally relied on utilizing the content and distribution assets of big media companies, Mediabrands says its new unit will focus on helping brands identify and cultivate “their own media channels,” including inherent points of contact with their consumers, such as retail, packaging, events, Web sites and any other “digital presence” controlled by the brand.In terms of the content the brands will distribute across those channels, the Mediabrands team says it will build new “platforms” to “host always-on” content, and that the programs they manage will “deliver periodic content that has a defined start and stop date and creates pulses -- real-time or fast-twitch content that takes advantage of news, business or cultural events.”