MRM, Aniboom Team Up

NEW YORK Interpublic digital shop MRM Worldwide has struck a deal with a “virtual” animation house — called Aniboom — designed to bring its clients quicker and more cost-efficient animation services. The agreement, which the parties are calling a strategic alliance, is expected to be announced next week.

Aniboom, an Israeli company with offices in New York and San Francisco, was founded in 2006 by Uri Shinar, the former CEO of Israeli broadcaster Keshet. It is a Web-based platform that connects 8,000 animators around the world with clients in the TV, film, music and video game sectors.

Prospective clients submit RFPs via the platform and animators all over the world can respond, said Shinar. MRM global chief creative officer Oren Frank calls the approach “crowd-sourcing,” and says agencies are likely to rely on the approach more in the future as shops and clients seek more efficient ways of doing business.

The MRM deal is the first agreement the global animation collective has sealed with an advertising agency, a field the company hopes to expand into aggressively, per Shinar.  “We cut a lot out of the cost by taking off the big payrolls and other overhead of the big animation studios,” he said. “Agencies are looking for better business models and we think this is one solution.”

Commenting on the arrangement, MRM’s Frank added that “in an age of infinite connectivity and reach, crowd-sourcing in its many forms will become the next metaphor for innovation and creativity.  When a brand needs multiple variations of content to address the multitude of audiences and channels, no “creative department” of an ad agency can cope with those needs.  The obvious solution is to source it from the billions of innovative quotient that’s out on the Web.”

But Aniboom also brings a freshness and grass-roots sensibility to its offering that’s harder to find in big animation factories, Frank said, given its global network of contributors. “How can any agency ignore this potential?” he said, noting that the shop will complete similar arrangements with other service providers in the future.

Aniboom teams are currently working on projects for Fox, Marvel and the History Channel, among others, according to Shinar.
MRM confirms that two major clients are currently using the Aniboom platform to develop animation projects. A rep for the agency said that it could not disclose who those clients are at present.