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CES 2016

Fullscreen Sets Up an Influencer Marketing Group Dedicated to GroupM and WPP Clients

New template for how to work with agencies

Campaigns like this one for Lipton will be housed under Playa. Youtube: Lipton Tea

Between key executive hires and a forthcoming subscription service, Fullscreen hasn't been shy about its ambitions for 2016. And just five days into the new year, it's starting to make good on that promise.

The 5-year-old multichannel network will announce tonight during the Consumer Electronics Show that it's partnering with GroupM to form a dedicated influencer marketing group called Playa, which will exclusively service GroupM and WPP clients. The partnership builds on a long-standing relationship between the two companies: WPP has been a key investor in Fullscreen and maintains an equity stake.

Fullscreen has taken part in previous influencer campaigns with GroupM and WPP clients including Colgate, Speed Stick, NBCUniversal and Lipton. "There's a familiarity there with GroupM, a shorthand working relationship," said Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos. In a campaign for Lipton earlier this year, Fullscreen brought together 12 creators for a backyard picnic.

Though Fullscreen is setting up shop with GroupM, the MCN remains open for business with other agencies. In fact, Strompolos thinks this could end up becoming the industry standard. "We do think, potentially, the Playa model is a template for how to work with other agencies," he said.

With Playa, Strompolos hopes to "systemize the creative process" by having a small, dedicated team within Fullscreen working with just one agency. GroupM and WPP clients will have access to Fullscreen's proprietary creator/client platform, which matches a brand campaign with creators who can reach the target audience with scale. In the past, Fullscreen has only provided internal measurement to clients to gauge how their campaigns performed. But for Playa, it has signed on Millward Brown and Tubular Labs to provide third-party measurement.

"Influence has changed," said Rob Norman, chief digital officer, GroupM, in a statement. "New voices are needed for the digital generation. Celebrity ebbs and flows so much faster now, and brands need to capture that flow and to exploit micro-audience segments," 

Playa will have a presence in New York, Los Angeles and London and is already at work on campaigns.

With the continued rise of social-media stars, influencer marketing has become a burgeoning industry. "This matters enough where the big agencies that have historically bought lots of TV, lots of preroll ads, recognize this as a way to market and reach customers," Strompolos said.

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