For the second time this year, The New York Times is acquiring a marketing agency. This time, it’s buying Fake Love, an agency that specializes in live experiences, virtual and augmented reality.
The Times is trying to grow its revenue in part by offering more ad agency services, as it did by adding influencer marketing agency HelloSociety in March and now, Fake Love. Buying an existing agency was a faster way to build up those offerings than developing them from the ground up. The Times’ native ad unit, T Brand Studio, has worked with Fake Love before, so the publisher was already familiar with it. For one of the projects, the Times used Fake Love to create a VR video ad to promote the Weinstein Company movie “Carol: Dearest…”
“We’re really interested in playing a bigger role in the marketing services value chain — coming up with an idea, creating it, distributing the idea, measuring it,” said Sebastian Tomich, senior vp of advertising and innovation at the Times.
Financial terms of the deal, set to be announced today, were not disclosed. According to its LinkedIn profile, Fake Love has fewer than 50 employees.
Native advertising can be lucrative, but it’s hard to do well and with predictability, which has led publishers to look for other services to sell marketers. Tomich said Fake Love will help the Times meet new kinds of requests it’s fielding from advertisers itself rather than farming them out to external agencies.
“Thanks to Pokemon Go, I’m getting daily requests for [augmented reality],” he said. “I’m getting lot of requests for chatbots. And VR, the market is already hot. We’ve had a client once a week getting pretty serious about doing a project with us. We want to be able to bring that in house.”
Another part of the reason for buying an agency is so the Times can serve advertisers who are in the market for creative work but don’t necessarily want to buy media from the Times. That’s why, like HelloSociety, Brooklyn-based Fake Love will keep its own branding and maintain its operation separate from the rest of the Times.
“A big hurdle you have to overcome is, it takes a meeting or two to show we’re not pitching the New York Times audience, we’re pitching the creative,” Tomich said. “It’s really important that we have two different lines of business development so the lines remain distinct. If we’re affiliated with a publishing brand, you have to overcome that that we’re not there to pitch media.”
Media Briefing: What to expect at the Digiday Publishing Summit
As DPS draws nearer, top pain points for publishers are coming to light.
New app launches through Apple hoping to win with ‘zero-party data’ when others haven’t
Caden's new app lets users connect data from their Uber, Amazon, Netflix and other accounts in exchange for money. Will it take off?
‘The next level for us’: The New York Times eyes better retention for games in subscription drive
The games division is focusing on finding new ways to mine the inherent competitive nature of games like encouraging people to play multiple games in a single session or through new achievements and rewards for progression.
SponsoredIn a cookieless world, publishers are embracing new approaches to personalized UX
Asaf Shamly, CEO and co-founder, Browsi With user experience at the forefront of many publishers’ minds, the eventual deprecation of third-party cookies is bound to wreak havoc for those who haven’t quite figured out how to adjust their ad model to the coming change. The problem is well defined at this point: They can’t afford, […]
Digiday+ Research: Video ads are a growing business for publishers large and small
Video advertising's potential rings most true among small publishers, while data points to video advertising already reaching its potential among large publishers — but also not, at the same time.
How The Guardian’s Luis Romero is selling the legacy U.K. publication in the U.S.
The Guardian U.S.'s Luis Romero is working to grow the U.K.-based publishers' ad business in North America while combating the pervasive brand safety problem facing all news publishers.