Interpublic Group has launched a new creative technology unit called Split.
The venture is tasked with developing global partnerships with agencies and marketers and creating proprietary products.
While Split is an independent IPG revenue center, it is aligned with McCann Worldgroup.
Worldgroup CIO Greg Smith founded and heads Split, and has been working with McCann Erickson chief creative officer Joyce King Thomas in testing the concept at the agency's New York headquarters.
With about 30 employees, Split has brought in over $1 million in revenue from various projects and is currently working on new apps that will launch by month's end, as well as a social media platform that debuts this quarter, the company said.
A recent Split initiative was the mid-November launch, via Twitter, of the first Nikon Online Film Festival, a user-generated content contest inviting aspiring filmmakers to upload 140-second videos with the chance to win prizes of $25,000 and $100,000. Nikon spokesperson Ashton Kutcher, with 3.9 million Twitter followers, kicked off the contest by posting a link to his submission, a short film documenting a day spent in Africa. Split and McCann N.Y. created the concept and all campaign elements: social-media launch, a Web site, online outreach, TV and print.
"Creative technology, the pairing of content and code, clearly is an area with huge potential, including the ability to own 'reach,'" Smith said in a statement. "Split is a new model. It is a business within a business -- handling digital creative and production, and importantly also developing and leveraging our own software products that can be licensed to marketers or consumers."
Added King Thomas: "Split not only has given us sophisticated technological support, but has been a huge creative asset to us -- contributing to ideation, participating in new-business opportunities [and] producing some of our most innovative digital work over the past year."
Split will continue to work with McCann as well as other Worldgroup companies and IPG entities. In addition to its New York base, Split hubs are being formed in other markets.