Two WPP shops -- J. Walter Thompson and content marketer Group SJR, part of Hill+Knowlton Strategies -- are partnering on the launch of a new content marketing unit called Colloquial. The partners said the joint venture would bring together the creative and strategic expertise of JWT with the publishing and audience development experience of Group SJR.
Colloquial will create publishing environments for brands, specializing in content designed to build loyalty and audience over time -- short articles, infographics and visual stories for brands that are quickly conceived, made and shared.
Colloquial will share locations and draw on talent from J. Walter Thompson in a number of markets, including the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and the UK.
“Content is the new currency,” said Gustavo Martinez, JWT’s global chairman and CEO. “Colloquial will deliver both authentic narratives and the creative visual storytelling that brands are demanding and consumers want.”
The new venture will be overseen by Alexander Jutkowitz, managing partner at Group SJR, who is adding the title of CEO, Colloquial. “Successful brands innovate,” said Jutkowitz. “Not only is that what J. Walter Thompson and Group SJR are doing with the creation of Colloquial, but it’s what we’re going to do for our clients — ensuring they have the ability to continuously reach targeted, ‘always on’ audiences with an array of engaging, high quality content that moves them.”
In addition to Jutkowitz as CEO, Colloquial will be led by William (Billy) Sind, a partner and co-founder of Group SJR who will serve as editorial lead at Colloquial. Jinal Shah, who has served as global digital strategy director at JWT, will serve as Strategy Lead at the new venture and Gillian Melrose, a managing director at Group SJR, becomes marketing lead.
Hill + Knowlton Strategies bought Group SJR, founded in 2004, two years ago. At the time of the acquisition, WPP said Group SJR had about $13.6 million in revenue in its most recent fiscal year. Clients then included Motion Picture Association of America, TED, GE, Xerox and Dell. It has about 500 clients currently.