Facebook to Ad Agencies: Let's Be 'in a Relationship'

Social Network Rolls Out Community Site Aimed at Creatives

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Facebook today launched a stand-alone community site (facebook-studio.com) where ad agency creatives can share ideas, comment on campaigns and learn what it takes to create a successful page for a brand. The community is called "Facebook Studio" and is a platform aimed at agencies, PR firms and media strategy companies.

Facebook Studio
Facebook Studio

Facebook executives say this move is a first step in a give-and-take dialogue between Facebook and the creative advertising world. Until now, Facebook has been mostly hands-off with agencies, letting them navigate the frequently changing Facebook waters without a compass.

"We need to do a better job of engaging with agencies," said Blake Chandlee, head of Facebook's newly formed agency relations team, adding that the site will focus on best practices and highlight quality campaigns uploaded by the creators of the content. Of course, users will be commenting and clicking that like button, so the most talked-about work will get the most attention. Facebook wants the people with the advertising smarts to take the lead. "So far we've felt like they've been pulled along," Mr. Chandlee said.

A team was hired in August to facilitate agency relations and met with shops for the past six months to learn what they needed. Along with the website, Facebook is holding events called Studio Live -- hackathon-style problem solving and "best in show" sessions. A Toronto event took place earlier this year with Publicis, Interpublic, Omnicom, WPP and Havas in attendance.

Agencies are interested to see what happens, and ultimately want more. "Beyond the studio, which is a great first step, we're looking to Facebook to open the kimono more in areas like product development to bring smarter, more integrated programs to our clients," said Sarah Hofstetter, senior VP at 360i, who has worked with Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and Bravo.

"The tools and products Facebook develops, which spread information about their platform, will not only help it seem less daunting, but encourage brands to further utilize the platform as well as experiment with it," said Jasmine Summerset, strategy supervisor at Pereira & O' Dell.

The next Facebook Studio Live event is planned for May 12 in New York.

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