For a brand with ephemeral moments at its core, Snapchat has evolved into a social media powerhouse. Now boasting more than 100 million users, it’s a media network in its own right that will cover the 2016 US presidential race on its Discover platform with media partners including CNN, Yahoo News, ESPN, Vice and The Daily Mail.
It’s that latter partner that Snapchat is highlighting at Cannes, where it has announced it’s partnering with WPP and The Daily Mail, the UK’s traffic powerhouse of a newspaper and website, to form what it’s calling the world’s biggest content marketing agency.
Its unusual moniker, Truffle Pig, and cute logo may seem twee and unthreatening to competitors, but it’s a serious move involving three powerful players. It also came as something of a shock to Truffle Social, which shared this video reaction to the news:
Truffle Pig, with its deep-pocketed partners, hopes to find “rare and tasty” content and insights for brands—starting with (but not limited to) WPP clients intent on gleaning Snapchat’s millennial-savvy insights on positioning and messaging, content projects, video and photography, social media management, audience development, and insights and analytics.
As The Daily Mail puts it, Truffle Pig “will combine the best of global agency, newsroom and social media talent, will offer brands unprecedented reach and opportunity through content planning, development and creation as well as amplification across digital media sites and platforms.”
What’s more, “Truffle Pig will use DailyMail.com, Elite Daily and Snapchat as test beds for original concepts in story-driven marketing, but its content and services will extend to any digital properties the client brands wish to market on. Truffle Pig will work closely with Snapchat to create best of breed ‘3v’ (vertical video view) ads on Snapchat.” It will initially launch in the US, with headquarters in New York City, and also use Snapchat’s 3V video production space in Los Angeles.
The native advertising agency launch follows Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel’s on-stage chat at Cannes on Monday with Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles, in which he introduced his brand’s 3V (vertical video views) ad platform and drove home the notion that SnapChat is a platform, not a social network, which is only seven months into selling ads.
“Great content is not just about creating it, but having platforms for it,” Alex Jutkowitz, the head of Group SJR who will head the Truffle Pig agency, at the Cannes launch. “Engaging millennials and having distribution is key. Snapchat is where the millennial fish are and that’s where we are going.”
“They want Mission Impossible [style] destruction,” he added. “They want to keep stuff away from the prying eyes of others, family, and whatever else. But whatever the reason is, it’s different. Therefore it’s volatile. It indicates there’s volatility, and it pays to be involved.” Now Truffle Pig will help brands focus on “developing social content,” and Sorrell said WPP would help clients sift their data and “try to build a more substantiated model.”
“We’ve been lucky,” Spiegel told Coles, with Cosmopolitan an early Snapchat partner. “We didn’t have any legacy Internet ad-serving infrastructure,” adding that what Snapchat does is “really different than Internet advertising.”
“We are going to totally evolve the way media planning and creative is done,” commented Jon Steinberg, CEO of The Daily Mail North America. “I don’t think we will be the only ones to do this. I think of it like Google with Android and the Nexus range of products. We are not the only ones going to do this, but we wanted to be the first.”
“With the need for story-driven marketing on our sites and those of other media companies, and new ad format like Snapchat, brands need a truffle pig,” he added.
At Cannes, Snapchat showed Tide ads created with Procter & Gamble for Father’s Day built around dads dealing with messes, briefly showing the Tide logo and hashtag #getsitout that Spiegel said “fit the context” of the Snapchat Story. “We love when the advertiser fits the context of the story we are telling.”
In another sign it’s growing up, Snapchat recently inked a deal with Live Nation, and has grown from 45 employees this time last year to 450 today. Rumors of an IPO are percolating even as they join forces with brands in a more direct way via advertising deals and now via content deals brokered by Truffle Pig, helping advertisers create and tailor content for its audience, much as Wallpaper under Tyler Brule created ads in its hyperchic style via its Winkreative agency.
As for how Truffle Pig will get along with existing WPP agencies, Sorrell said cannibalization is to be expected and he doesn’t mind a bit of healthy competition. “I believe in eating your own children,” he quipped.