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WPP Buys Into Word of Mouth

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NEW YORK WPP Group said it bought word-of-mouth marketing firm M80, a continuation of the holding company's efforts to diversify into new channels.

The 8-year-old Los Angeles-based shop works for clients like Microsoft, Universal Music Group and 20th Century Fox. Its programs seek to build Web buzz by tapping into an advertiser's base of passionate fans to take part in marketing communications, often through consumer-generated media like blogs and message boards.

"Word of mouth at Internet speed and user-generated content are areas of increasing importance, and M80 is already engaged with many of our clients and delivering huge value," Group M Interaction CEO Rob Norman said in a statement.

M80 will be part of WPP's Group M unit of media services firms that includes Mediaedge:cia, Mindshare and MediaCom.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

WPP's move into the word-of-mouth arena follows Aegis Group's purchase of Ammo Marketing, a San Francisco WOM shop, in February.