Guardian News and Media (GNM) has officially launched its new branded content Guardian Labs service – with a seven-figure Unilever deal.
The company revealed plans in March last year to relaunch its Brand Partnership business in order to meet advertiser demand for more bespoke branded content.
Now, almost a year later, the new Guardian Labs service has launched with a 133-strong team, led by managing director Anna Watkins. The partnership with Unilever will provide the company with a Guardian-hosted platform offering content aimed at encouraging people to live more sustainable lives.
Watkins said: “It’s an incredibly exciting time to formally launch Guardian Labs as brands look for more engaging ways to tell their story. A combination of our top class editorial, creativity and digital innovation means we can offer something truly different, inspiring and effective.
“Our partnership with Unilever is a fantastic example of collaboration based on our shared values. Right from the start we brainstormed ideas, working across the whole of the Guardian, and built the campaign together. It represents a truly original way of working.”
Jon Goldstone, VP brand building foods and refreshment at Unilever UK & Ireland, added: “Our partnership with Guardian Labs presents us with an innovative and unique way of engaging with a greater number of consumers than ever before, in their homes and on the move, on a subject which is core to both Unilever and the Guardian’s values - sustainability.”
The Guardian Labs service comes amid a native advertising boom in the publishing industry. The loose umbrella term refers to commercial, branded content created to sit more naturally within its website environment.
Last week, Bauer Media launched The Debrief, a website aimed at the female 20-something demographic, on a native advertising model. In November last year, Trinity Mirror launched a seven-day Sunday People website and aimed to fund the project entirely with native advertising, however, the venture was shut down less than three months later on account of low traffic.