GALE launches innovation practice Advance Party

The 15-person team will pull talent from across GALE to help clients navigate new platforms and media opportunities.

Advance Party's July 4 TikTok campaign for Bomb Pop. (Photo credit: GALE).

GALE has established an innovation practice called Advance Party that focuses on pairing clients with new platforms and ad formats.

Advance Party’s goal is to help clients find the right media avenue to promote themselves without getting overwhelmed by the countless options for reaching consumers.

“Brands simply can’t sift through that,” GALE CEO and president Brad Simms told Campaign U.S. “They don’t have the expertise, the emerging platforms are moving so quickly.”

Advance Party bills itself as an advisory partner that places brands in the right media contexts where they can drive consumer engagement while shifting conversations away from current fixations on CPMs and towards how to use media to tell the best stories. Instead of limiting itself to just media buying or just creative strategy, Advance Party blends these disciplines to help clients think about which platforms best suit their needs for a particular campaign.

For example, on July 4 weekend, Advance Party worked with popsicle brand Bomb Pop to launch the first TikTok Branded Mission campaign in North America. Launched in May 2022, Branded Mission is a platform within TikTok that allows brands to develop a brief and release it to the creator community to find the right partner.

Advance Party has also worked to build MilkPEP’s Snapchat presence by dabbling with the platform’s lens technology.

“Those are two examples where we’re having those conversations and understanding those capabilities,” said chief innovation officer and Advance Party lead Ben James.

In the case of the Bomb Pop campaign, “The Branded Mission was part of it, and it fit so nicely into that story, but getting to the fact that [Branded Mission] existed required that type of conversation,” he added.

Advance Party won’t deal exclusively in brand-new media, but conversations about new platforms often arise out of a client’s interest in staying on top of emerging media trends, James said. 

Advance Party works with clients across GALE’s portfolio, including H&R Block, Dropbox, MilkPEP, Wells, Hertz and Chipotle.

The practice pulls talent from across the agency as projects call for different skill sets, while James leads a consistent team of 15 that he hopes to grow to over 20.

James and Simms declined to discuss Advance Party’s upcoming work.

“We’re really excited about the spaces that we see out there and the connections that we see emerging and we’re just trying to make those connections available to our clients as fast as they pop up,” James said.

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