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PR Shop Edelman Forms Online Content Creation Unit

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It’s become fairly typical for major ad agencies to get into content creation under the premise of producing branded entertainment on behalf of clients. But it is unusual for a public relations shop to try its hand at the practice. New York-based PR firm Edelman hopes to widen the perception of itself – if not the industry – by forming a “virtual studio” to connect producers, directors and screenwriters to develop short-form online videos for its clients, AdAge reports. Burger King, which scored a great deal of attention a few years ago by backing viral video site Subservient Chicken by ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, is one of four marketers that have contracted with Edelman Studios.

It’s unlikely that any content creation trend will emerge for most PR firms. In the case of Edelman, this is a natural extension of its entertainment unit, Matter, which the company bought in July 2006. As for the situation being unlikely, Peter Himler, former chief media officer for Edelman disagrees. He sees it as a natural progression. Himler tells us that since most “clients are creating and optimizing their own ‘news’ content — text, images, video — for direct discovery and consumption by their target constituents. And who better to take the lead but PR people? The PR discipline has all the elements for success… Now we just have to teach the rank and file of the PR profession about digital video production and editing.”

5 Responses to “PR Shop Edelman Forms Online Content Creation Unit”

  1. Robert Shavelson

    Edelman has been at this informally for quite some time. It's a good idea and the timing is right with full convergence upon us. Good luck with the venture

  2. Although it has come down in price, setting up this kind of studio is expensive and time consuming – resources that many agencies just don't have and that could be better spent elsewhere.

    Sensible PR agencies will have a relationship with a video and audio produciton company (or several) so that they can outsource this work if clients demand it, producing higher quality content then they could in-house.

    As Edelman has the resources, it is a good idea to bypass this relationship and set up their own production studio. But as prices drop and the means to produce high-quality content for clients becomes increasingly available, more and more smaller agencies, such as Brian's FutureWorks PR, will be able to follow Edelamn's route and include it in their agency's services.

  3. Just for some historical context, the creation of custom media by advertising and PR firms goes way, way back. Customer magazines (custom publishing) has been around over a century — and advertising and PR firms have participated in creation of these from their beginnings. In the early days of radio, TV, even film, PR and advertising firms were early and big players in the "content creation" business.

  4. This is a very "official" move that should inspire the industry to evolve a new branch in this direction. When I'm not blogging, I also run a PR agency (FutureWorks PR) and I build a full video and audio recording studio in our Sunnyvale HQ specifically for this purpose. We've been working with talent to create original pilots and series to help clients tell their story in a more visual, human, and creative ways using the powerful and easily accessible online social video channels available to all of us.

  5. I believe this is a correct move for PR agencies today. The web is all about creating your own content and making it count. Why just keep to press releases for the journalists when you can create content that go direct to customers. If I was a marketeer on a budget, I might want to try for a million views on YouTube vs a national news pitch. Of course it depends on which is the best means to reach your target audience. Good to know we now have the choice.