WPP's direct marketing and CRM powerhouse Wunderman and media agency MEC have sprouted a small offshoot the firms hope will satisfy client's increasing demands for data-driven marketing. The new joint venture, called Choreograph, was conceived to help advertiser clients respond more readily to consumers with customized messages and relevant media placement based on advertisers' consumer data and a wealth of third-party information.
In the last year or so, Wunderman clients, many in the financial services, travel and telecom categories, which have lots of sales transaction data on their consumers, "want to connect media and creative in order to be more relevant," said Gurval Caer, vice chairman, chief innovation and marketing officer at Wunderman and Choreograph's president for the U.S.
Like many new agency initiatives, Choreograph's value proposition seems somewhat fluid. The idea is to bring in two core WPP businesses to enable data-driven creative and targeting, and layer in other services within the holding company as needed. For instance, United Airlines, which has worked with the Choreograph group on previous efforts, might use WPP-owned trading desk Xaxis to enable some digital ad targeting.
The first step, said Mr. Caer, is to help CMOs determine how much to spend on content, media, social media, and offline channels. With that strategy in place, the Choreograph team, currently around ten people, will combine client data and outside data, such as transactional information from WPP's i-Behavior, to identify the appropriate audience.
Clients "don't want to use content as a proxy for audience," said Mr. Caer.
Wunderman and MEC consider Razorfish to be a key competitor of the new arm, but suggest Choreograph's strength will be its ability to target across all channels.
The two WPP firms have partnered over the past twelve years, and coupled to win accounts, such as Citibank. The new outfit will have a separate P&L and will be housed at 3 Columbus Circle in Manhattan, home to Y&R and Wunderman.
Expect Choreograph to branch out to London next year.