BuzzFeed Goes In-House With DigitasLBi for Branded Content

Agency proclaims a 'fearless investment in creativity'

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DigitasLBi is partnering with BuzzFeed and Epic Digital to develop digital branded content, the companies revealed at the NewFronts this afternoon in New York.

First of all, DigitasLBi and BuzzFeed will create a program called "BuzzFeed in Residence," where marketing-side staffers from the social-minded news site will grab a desk in digital agency's New York office. Teams from both companies will work together on strategies for brands.

The collaboration will produce real-time content aimed at breaking news, trends and pop culture. DigitasLBi said it will select multiple clients to be in the program, giving brands a consistent presence on BuzzFeed and allowing for ongoing testing of social strategies. The development builds on the companies working together for more than two years, creating branding projects for Taco Bell, American Express and Virgin Mobile. 

"When you look at how content is spreading across the Web today, it's starting to permeate every channel," Adam Shlachter, head of media activation North America Digitas LBi, told Adweek. "[Buzzfeed has] a formula for connecting with people, the things they want to read, the things they want to share, the things they want to talk about. We think we can combine that formally with how we think about the media to help brands tell really powerful stories."

Jonathan Perelman, VP of agency strategy and general manager of video at BuzzFeed, said in a statement: "The BuzzFeed in Residence program was created with the belief that the best work will come from face-to-face collaboration."

Epic Digital is an arm of Epic Magazine, which was co-founded by Josh Bearman, who years ago published a story about a CIA-orchestrated hostage escape from Tehran. The article was adapted into Argo, the Academy-Award winning film.

Details are scant on its relationship with DigitasLBi, but it's obviously about multimedia content on some level.

Tony Weisman, CEO DigitasLBi North America, said both deals represent "fearless investments in creativity. We've cast a wide net to find the best content available from around the globe to tell stories that need to be told."

Bearman's partner, Epic Digital co-founder Joshua Davis, said the DigitasLBi partnership "allows us to bring this adventurous narrative approach to [the digital agency's] clients while providing us a platform to share these gems on a grander digital scale."

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.