Digitas LBi Applies BuzzFeed’s Content Formula To Client Problems

Agencies active in the content game are making progress. They’ve moved away from the “every company is a media company” fallacy to a better place.

One thing we know for sure, every company is NOT a media company, especially not every advertising agency nor the marketers they support. Yet, the need for compelling brand-building media remains as strong as ever.

What is a global leader in digital marketing to do? If you’re Digitas LBi, you partner with with BuzzFeed and Epic Digital to develop new digital branded content. Why reinvent the wheel when you can simply buy new wheels and have them installed on your vehicle?


Epic Digital is an arm of Epic Magazine, which was co-founded by Josh Bearman and Joshua Davis (one of the most interesting people working online today).

According to Adweek, part of the deal includes marketing-side staffers from BuzzFeed will “grab a desk” in digital agency’s New York office. Teams from both companies will work together on strategies for brands.

Adam Shlachter, head of media activation North America Digitas LBi, said, “Buzzfeed has a formula for connecting with people, the things they want to read, the things they want to share, the things they want to talk about. We think we can combine that formally with how we think about the media to help brands tell really powerful stories.”

A formula to help tell really powerful stories? If the formula is to staff your team with outstanding writers, I can see where this is a winning idea. Other formulas like when to post, and how often are distractions.

Brands can’t tell their own stories. They need highly skilled modern-day storytellers to perform the hard work. An interesting twist here is that Digitas LBi has many solid copywriters on staff, but copywriters are trained to sell with short, smart language. Weaving long-form narratives (sponsored by a brand) is a different skill—one most often found in journalists.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.