Last week, Brent Poer was named executive VP and executive creative director at Starcom MediaVest Group's LiquidThread North America, its content creation unit that has a reputation for coming up with out-of-the-ordinary concepts for clients to enhance their ad and marketing campaigns.
Previously managing director of MediaVest's West Coast office with oversight for LiquidThread's Los Angeles office, he will now take a more active and stepped-up role in supervising 65 content producers in LiquidThread's offices in New York, Chicago, Dallas and Toronto. Poer spent several years at LiguidThread's predecessor company, connectivetissue, and after a short stint as general manager during the startup and early life of WB.com, returned to SMG and LiquidThread.
His most recent success came with client Microsoft and The CW with the slogan "TV to Bing About," the first ad program to take-over the use of a network's tagline and include it in a campaign with the channel's on-air talent.
Poer recently spent some time with Broadcasting & Cable, discussing LiquidThread and the role it plays for clients and why media agency units like this will be important in the ad marketplace going forward. An edited transcript follows.
Where does LiquidThread fit in within the Starcom MediaVest Group?
LiquidThread sits between the media planning and buying divisions. We work with the planning teams to understand what the clients' products are and what they are looking to accomplish with their advertising. We then work with the buying teams to get something from the networks, beyond traditional commercials that have not been traditionally for sale. Then, we create a communication platform to the viewer to give a product an incremental lift and awareness.
Where do you get your ideas?
It's a 24-hour-a-day, 52- week a year process. There is always conversation and engagement from both the clients and the networks. You are always thinking of ways to integrate clients' products into the various networks, always looking to identify non-traditional opportunities where clients and their network partners will both benefit from the content we ultimately create. We are looking to create content that shows how a product can specifically affect the lives of every consumer. And the content we create activates a message in a way that's different and beyond the commercial area in which the client would typically play.
How has LiquidThread's space within the media planning and buying business grown or evolved?
Early on, when we were operating as connectivetissue, we were considered to be an innovation unit to come up with ways to enhance a mass commercial buy by making ourselves a valuable part of the mix. But as the number of devices where you can watch TV programs expands beyond just television, reaching consumers needs to remain true to the device they are watching on. Consumers watch content differently on different platforms. So you need to understand not only the voice and tone of every brand message and remain true to that, but be able to translate that to each device beyond traditional commercials. You have to be able to provide value to the viewer on all of these devices, or they will check out.
Media agency units like LiquidThread, which create content, are still supplementary to huge ad campaigns, where in many cases, hundreds of millionsof dollars are spent promoting single products or brands to mass audiences via 30- or 60-second commercials. Why is it important for clients to embrace units like yours?
It's important for all of our clients and their network partners to take a lean-forward approach, so that when this type of advertising does become more mainstream that they are ahead of the curve, not behind it. So that they are ready, not playing catch up."