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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.”