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WPP Kantar Media Creative

Kantar and Second City Works form joint venture, Brandstage


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

January 15, 2018 | 3 min read

Kantar, the data investment management division of WPP, has formed a joint venture with Second City Works, the corporate services division of the Second City, the world’s largest school of improvisation and foremost comedy theater company, which gave us performers like Tina Fey, Dan Aykroyd, Jordan Peele and Mike Meyers.

SCW Brandstage

Kantar and Second City Works form joint venture, Brandstage

The collaboration, marketed as Brandstage, will work with marketing organizations to drive new product innovation, originate captivating marketing and communications ideas, explore customer experience opportunities and remove the guesswork and over-reliance on dated, silo-based groupthink from critical marketing initiatives.

“Our partnership with Second City Works cements one of our most innovative, impactful offers within Kantar,” said Tim Wragg, chief executive officer of Kantar, Insights, North America. “Many clients have already benefited from the power of Brandstage to explore brand growth initiatives and we look forward to expanding our offer to help our clients and WPP partners get the most out of our collaboration.”

Second City Works uses improvisational methods and audience-centered collaboration with consumer audiences. Its creative tools have proven successful for clients since the offering’s beginnings in 2014, and the initial alliance in 2015 between Second City Works and Kantar Millward Brown’s qualitative practice, Firefly, to launch Consumer Theatre, now renamed Brandstage.

“Brandstage gave us a wealth of fresh consumer insights that we hadn’t heard before, and that we are still using to help inform marketing decisions six months later," said Kolby Blackham, senior research manager, Surface Brand, Microsoft.

“We believe laughter, or no laughter at all, is a powerful insight,” added Steve Johnston, president of the Second City. “For the last 60 years, Second City has used its improvisation-based creative techniques to gauge the response of an audience and to measure the totality of an idea. The same methods we use to take the cultural temperature of a captive audience at Second City can be used to determine the effectiveness of a particular campaign, brand message or content territory.”

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