The standalone division is designed to enable Starcom and MediaVest to incorporate “best in class” experiential strategy and activation into their integrated communications for clients.
The initiative is a joint venture between SMG and Union, a division of independent brand experience agency Carbon Marketing. SMG Experience will be led by SMG director of sponsorship Jayne Stephens and Union account director Kingsly Roberts.
SMG estimates that UK advertisers spend more than 4% of their total advertising budget on experiential marketing. In 2007, ZenithOptimedia UK launched Newcast to develop branded entertainment and experiential strategies and the division is now being rolled out internationally.
SMG chief strategy officer Richard Hartell says: “Experiential has an important role to play in driving both action and advocacy. Consumers don’t experience a media plan, they experience how a brand behaves, what it sounds and feels like. SMG Experience means we’re able to design these consumer experiences in a coherent, consistent way.”
SMG and Union have already worked together on projects such as sampling for Mitchum deodorant.