Pinterest is not a social network; it’s “an app people use to design their lives.”
Co-founders Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp have been making that point for some time, but the company once mentioned alongside Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat has yet to truly begin the second phase of its life as a business that helps people bridge the gap between online searches and real-life experiences. As a spokesperson put it, “We like to say, ‘Be yourself, not your selfie.'”
On that note, Pinterest is making its first move into U.S. paid marketing, hiring the independent Giant Spoon as its media agency of record.
While the company regularly announces new offerings for advertisers, it has yet to directly promote itself, with the exception of a 2016 test campaign in England. Pinterest chose Giant Spoon to help facilitate its move from compilation tool to one that involves less liking and more doing. (The company announced last month that it would eliminate its “like” button.)
“It was clear to us from the beginning of this process that they value creative and doing things differently but that driving business growth was a key behind this approach,” said Giant Spoon co-founder Marc Simons. “This is where we work best.”
That means “developing relationships with media partners that will unlock better thinking, not just better rate cards,” he added, stating that Pinterest’s approach demands “truly partnering with media brands rather than just being a vendor renting a space.”
Simons acknowledged that Pinterest will not be a huge spender, and according to Kantar Media, the company dedicated less than $200,000 to measured media in the U.S. in 2016. But it does have more than 175 million active users, and its growth isn’t showing signs of slowing. Simons described the company’s new identity as “a visual search engine,” pointing to its new Lens tool as a hint to its future plans.
“We used it pretty heavily for designing our space [in L.A.],” Simons said, describing the app and its custom boards as “a utility to bring this dream office to life.”
The first work from the new partnership should launch over the summer.
Of course, some will always see Pinterest as the most convenient place to compile and locate images of Dutch boy bands or dinosaur-themed erotica. And more power to them.