Edelman Launches Joint Venture With United Talent Agency

Will Give Edelman Clients a Much Earlier Look at Content Opportunities

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Edelman parent company DJE Holdings has inked a joint venture with talent agency United Talent Agency in the latest deal linking up Hollywood and brands.

Jarrod Moses, UEG
Jarrod Moses, UEG

The move creates a new shop called United Entertainment Group, a DJE Company. It combines Edelman's experiential and sports marketing group Matter with an agency that UTA started with Jarrod Moses in 2007. That agency was also called United Entertainment Group.

Edelman owns the majority of the new venture, which has revenue of around $30 million, according to the PR shop. UTA has a vested interest, while all three companies -- Edelman, UTA and the original UEG -- are contributing assets, people and clients, the PR shop said.

Mr. Moses is running the group. Edelman President of Strategic Partnerships and Global Integration Gail Becker will be on the board.

For Edelman, it means early access to entertainment content as the shop looks for new client PR and advertising opportunities across paid, owned and earned platforms.

"Content marketing is really on the docket of every CMO and all of our clients today," said Ms. Becker. "We were looking for a partner who could increase our entertainment marketing and branding expertise. This gives us an opportunity to snag an early look at content clients might want to be a part of."

Shops like UEG and UTA tend to get early access to entertainment content plans, thanks to their Hollywood acumen and influential client portfolio.

"We're working with actual companies and brand corporations to create relationships with celebrities, and we do it based upon not what we see in the current entertainment market, but what consumers will see six months out," said Mr. Moses. In some cases, the group knows what's in the works 18 months out and can use that information to start planning an ad or digital campaign, sponsorship program or integration in a film or TV show, he explained.

Among UTA clients are Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie and Judd Apatow. The original UEG's clients include AT&T and Sam Adams. Earlier this year, they helped bring together Usher and General Mill's Honey Nut Cheerios. And Edelman works with marketers like Unilever and Starbucks.

For UEG and UTA, the hope is that Edelman can provide "insights and analytics, an international footprint with a deep bench in digital and people who understand experiential," said Mr. Moses. The deal also offers access to sports-marketing capabilities, an area in which the shop has "played in but not gone deep in," he said.

Edelman and UTA are not alone. Branded entertainment opportunities across more digital platforms have created opportunities for Hollywood and adland to get cozy, and the trend has resulted in numerous marriages between talent and marketing shops. Last summer, Hollywood's William Morris Endeavor bought a 49% stake in Droga5. A few years earlier, Interpublic Group linked up talent-publicity firm PMK/HBH with brand-PR agency BNC.

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CORRECTION: This story originally listed celebrities that UEG has worked with, including Pharrell Williams, Lady Gaga and Mark Wahlberg, as UTA clients. Also this story originally reported that Gail Becker would be co-running the venture. She'll be on the board of the new venture, but Jarrod Moses will be leading the charge.

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