LeoPo: Burnett Teams With HuffPo, Calls It A New Agency/Publisher 'Model'

With a degree of hyperbole that would be impressive by even Madison Avenue’s highest standards, Publicis’ Leo Burnett unit announced a deal with AOL’s Huffington Post touted as the world’s first “agency and publisher alliance poised to reinvent how people engage with brands.”

The announcement, which gives sparse details on exactly how they’ll do that, focuses mainly on the innovation of the two organizations agreeing to collaborate, describing the venture as an “exclusive cooperative approach that promises to transform the relationship between creative agencies and publishers.

‘The alliance marks the first time a leading digital publisher of original content and a global creative agency network have united to build a new model. Acting together, they will combine their teams, processes and platforms in new ways to help brands participate and drive cultural conversations.”



Other than collaborating, the two organizations did not explain what the new model actually is, but claimed it would “connect brands with HuffPost Partner Studio,” the publisher’s in-house team of branded content experts.

“The ambition is to create content that drives cultural conversations and participation at scale for several of Leo Burnett’s clients,” they asserted in the announcement, citing buzzworthy terms like “cross-team collaboration,” “data-sharing,” and, “most importantly, creative brand building.”

"Together, we'll purposefully infuse our brands into cultural conversations, changing the way people engage with our clients,” stated Leo Burnett North American CEO Rich Stoddart.

The companies added that the collaboration would be offered exclusively to a “select number of” the agency’s clients. The main benefits would be direct collaboration with the HuffPo studio’s writers, editors and strategists and “first-mover access” to HuffPo’s proprietary “data engines” and its new “social dashboard.”

HuffPo will gain “inside access to the agency’s brand planning and participation practice, as well as the agency’s innovation tools used to identify the various ways people engage with different product categories.” And presumably, to their advertising budgets, too.
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