NEW YORK In the Looney Tunes cartoon series, Wile E. Coyote's futile attempts to capture Road Runner could be commended. In fact, Wile E. Coyote's creative and strategic thinking and use of innovative contraptions produced by the Acme Corp. have served, in part, as the foundation for a new branded-content agency.
Acme Brand Content Co., an integrated marketing and promotions agency, launched this week, seeking to carve a niche in the growing branded entertainment space. David Caruso, the former COO of Grey Global Group's Alliance, formed the shop and serves as president.
"[In the cartoon], Acme was the brand of everything. [We've expanded] the idea that your brand really can be everywhere. It doesn't have to be limited to your traditional models . . . you need to pop up in unexpected places," said Caruso.
The company has no affiliation with Time Warner, which owns the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies libraries. Caruso said Acme Brand Content Co. was named as such to avoid legal problems.
Initially, the agency will focus on branded entertainment, given that brands are "sparking to the entertainment part of the content business," said Caruso.
In the future, said Caruso, the content business will move far beyond entertainment to where consumers are engaging with a branded message outside of an ad or more traditional communications. This could come in the form of events, which can be considered content, he added.
"Our agency is really trying to put some best-in-class practices and thought leadership into the space. We still feel like there is a kind of lack-of-thought leadership in [branded entertainment], said Caruso.
Robby Wells, most recently vp and digital strategy director at Carat Media, has been named chief strategy officer.
Chantre Randolph, who has been hired as development manager, comes from a TV production background, having worked with SportsNet, VH-1 and the Yes Network.
Randolph, said Caruso, has experience producing and managing content. "Advertisers are not used to creating entertainment. [So] to have somebody that is guiding clients and has an appreciation and understanding of the creative side as well as the distribution and fulfillment side can bridge the gap between our creative services and our clients needs," Caruso said.
Acme has signed deals with Procter & Gamble's TAG Fragrance Co., Avon's Boutique beauty brand, Swedish luxury bed manufacturer Hastens and the Sean Kimerling Foundation.