Ogilvy enters first WOM partnership

BOSTON: Ogilvy PR has signed a partnership agreement with BzzAgent, making it the first PR agency in the US to formally partner with the word-of-mouth powerhouse.

BOSTON: Ogilvy PR has signed a partnership agreement with BzzAgent, making it the first PR agency in the US to formally partner with the word-of-mouth powerhouse.

The agreement means that Ogilvy will use BzzAgent as its go-to partner for WOM work on behalf of clients, and in exchange will receive special rates and preferred “slotting” for their campaigns, as well as technique training.

BzzAgent CEO Dave Balter said that his firm has worked with Ogilvy many times in the past, and the partnership seemed to be the logical next step. The formal arrangement offers agencies WOM resources that they would not otherwise be able to build in house, he said.

“They don't have big networks, scalable networks, of individuals to engage,” Balter said. “So partnering with us gives them access to the scale they need to generate word of mouth at big proportions.”

Last October, BzzAgent formed an alliance in the US with Interpublic Group, the first of its kind with a holding company. It also has a similar arrangement with WPP in the UK. Balter said the increasing willingness of outside agencies to partner with BzzAgent is burgeoning due to rising client demand for strong WOM programs.

“The PR firms, in this case, are being put in the position of, ‘Hey, solve our word of mouth strategy' by their clients,” he said.

The two firms have already worked on campaigns together, but Balter declined to name specific clients. He said that BzzAgent currently works with “about 35 agencies and PR firms,” and that more official partnerships could be in store in the near future.

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