JWT Teams With Spot Runner for Local Ads

NEW YORK WPP Group’s JWT has become the first national agency to partner with Spot Runner to use its local ad platform. Los Angeles-based Spot Runner has created a Google-like system that allows users to create and place regional television ads.

The service lets companies amend thousands of pre-shot spots with their business information or even splice in their products. The system also helps marketers buy targeted remnant TV inventory.

The idea is to make TV advertising as affordable for local businesses as it is for big brands, said David Waxman, Spot Runner’s co-founder.

Through the partnership, which does not involve financial considerations, JWT is offering Spot Runner to clients such as Ford, HSBC and JetBlue. (Spot Runner has already struck a deal with Cendant that allows Century 21 and Coldwell Banker to customize spots.)

Marian Salzman, chief marketing officer at JWT, said two national clients would run localized promotions through Spot Runner this fall. (She declined to identify those companies.)

“We see this as an opportunity to bring our clients into a new market, which is deeply local,” she said.

While some have decried Spot Runner as a threat to traditional shops (given the low costs and speedy production times), Salzman said such automated systems would never replace the “big-idea” thinking of agencies.

“This is really another executional format for us,” she said. “It’s not dangerous at all.”

The deal also gives JWT a “first look” at expansions of the Spot Runner platform, which include on-demand video, broadband channels and Internet protocol TV.

“We’re very cognizant that other media will emerge that will be complementary to TV,” said Waxman.