The unit, which includes a mix of 20 staffers from both shops, merges the talent identification and contracting expertise of UEG with Edelman's creativity, distribution and paid media strategies and analytics capabilities, said Jess Clifton, U.S. managing director of strategic growth and development at Edelman.
Unlike traditional multichannel networks, like Fullscreen or Maker, Starling does not have a pool of talent on roster from which clients have to choose. Ms. Clifton said this is beneficial because the offering will "use a tech stack to leverage who the right person is" and then engage that influencer for the program.
UEG launched in the fall of 2014 when Edelman signed a joint venture with talent agency United Talent Agency, so Starling also has access to certain celebrities and influencers through UTA, she added.
The offering is being co-sponsored by Ms. Clifton and Adam Smith, president of entertainment at UEG, and will have dedicated teams in offices across North and South America, APAC and Europe. Starling will not have a president in the near future, said Ms. Clifton, but Rob Jones, senior VP-video strategy and programming at Edelman, is becoming head of the offering's development. Beyond its name, Starling's branding includes a new logo and its own website, StarlingDJE.com
While Starling is officially debuting on June 9, it's has been testing out its collaborative skills for several months with clients such as Petco, Disney Parks, and Western Digital Corporation.
Most recently, Starling worked with Barilla to create a web series aimed at igniting positive conversations around pasta. Starling negotiated the deal with YouTube star Hannah Hart, who is the host of Barilla's "While the Water Boils" series, and created videos featuring celebrity scientist Bill Nye, fashion designer Rachel Zoe and artist Hebru Brantley. The first three episodes went live on YouTube and PassionForPasta.com about three weeks ago and have already garnered more than 1 million views, 1,100 comments and 35,000 likes.
For Western Digital, Starling teamed up with YouTube channel "Unbox Therapy," which has more than 4.5 million subscribers, to promote the brand's My Cloud and My Cloud Mirror products. In the first two weeks after going live in December, the video drove more than 32,000 clicks to the purchase page, and it now has more than 1.1 million views, nearly 22,000 likes and more than 2,700 comments.