WPP And Vice Form ‘Unholy Alliance’
A partnership involving Vice Media, WPP, The Raine Group, William Morris Endeavor and MTV's founder may set the stage for the youth media brand's global expansion - and indicate what the future of branded content entails.
Advertising holding company WPP, MTV founder Tom Freston and merchant bank The Raine Group have announced their investment in Vice Media, in a partnership exceeding the ‘high eight figures.’ The investment is complemented by a strategic partnership with the Ari-Emanuel run William Morris Endeavor (WME) talent & literary agency. Aside from media attention, what is the value and intended role of the partnership? WPP will provide the reach for Vice to begin a conversation with global brands, with transformation into ‘one of the world’s leading youth media companies’ also calling for expansion into the emerging markets of Brazil, China, India and South Korea. According to Sir Martin Sorrell, for their part;
WPP is investing in Vice to further develop our content capabilities, particularly in new media and among the youth consumer segments. Vice has been extremely successful in developing and repositioning major brands in these areas.
This goal to fuel global growth among young-bodied and minded consumers also explains Freston’s involvement. Vice founder Shane Smith, for his part, describes the partnership as an;
unholy alliance that will ensure no other media company will ever stand a chance against Vice’s relentless onslaught.
… Sir Martin Sorrell and WPP, Ari Emanuel and WME, along with Tom Freston and Joe Ravitch are so good at what they do that they scare me. Having this group aboard is like having a rocket strapped to your skateboard – when they turn on the jets, you’re in for a hell of a ride.
We had previously discussed Vice and Intel’s collaboration on The Creators Project, and their expansion in 2011, as an example of the kind of collaboration on branded, engaging content that VICE is capable of identifying & developing. It will be interesting to see what opportunities and content result from the intersection of global WPP brands, WME talent – and a feel for what is most relevant and compelling to today’s globally-aware youth.