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Laura Desmond, global CEO of Starcom MediaVest, talks Twitter partnership and the importance of real-time advertising


By Stephen Lepitak, -

April 23, 2013 | 4 min read

Following the highly lucrative strategic partnership announced between Twitter and Publicis Groupe media planning and buying agency Starcom MediaVest, the agency's global CEO Laura Desmond spoke to The Drum to offer some insight into the deal. It is reportedly worth over $200m, will see Starcom MediaVest clients receive premier advertising placements and will grant the agency access to Twitter's insight and data.

How long have talks for the deal been ongoing?

We've been working with Twitter, either campaigning or piloting with them, for the last 18-24 months. We had a terrific collaboration on the launch of Microsoft Windows 8 and the Oreo work and Samsung's new device launches. We have been talking to them for the last 18 months and we liked their progress.

Discussions for this strategic partnership have been taking place over the last three to four months. They were kicked off through a meeting I had with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo last fall where we shared common visions for the future of the business around content, experiences and real-time marketing. We now have a partnership that is going to co-create an interesting research product, and insight product. What I'm really excited about is where we're going to take this in terms of the insight, and the data to really make a difference for our clients.

And what will it mean for your clients?

It's hard to say specifically what it's going to mean because we are going to innovate and build, we're going to sense and respond. We're creating three major products that will give us more data, more research and more insight. We will take that, feed it into our planning and analytics tools and it will give us trends and information and relevancy and then we'll take that, work with our messaging partners, work within ourselves and our clients to determine the best way to use the Twitter platform.

My hope is that in two years from now, Twitter will allow us to better orchestrate paid and owned media together, amplify the effect and understand the ROI. The second thing that I hope we will be able to do is to truly scale real-time marketing with content distribution and experiences that keep extending marketing moments for our clients' brands and I hope to see that as scalable.

Do you feel that real-time marketing is exactly where this industry is headed?

Without a doubt. There is still going to be a role for large-scale planned events and campaigns. There is still going to be a role in the six months leading up to the World Cup and the month or two months post that and the Olympics and the Super Bowl and other major events. There is always going to be a role for those big marketing events and those big campaigns but what we're now doing is shifting from 'tent-pole' marketing to always being on in owned and earned assets.

It's not about paid media going away, if anything the opportunity to use earned and owned assets to amplify paid media will cause marketers to feel more confident in the money they want to invest. If you can't make your brand and experiences participatory, if you can't weave your messaging in real-time with relevant content for your audience, your brand will not be nearly as relevant in the future. It is going to be real-time underpinned by the iconic ways of brands launching campaigns.

Meanwhile, Maurice Levy, CEO of Publicis Groupe admitted his surprised at being the first marketing services group to sign such a deal with Twitter while speaking to The Drum,

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