W2O, the leading independent provider of analytics-driven, technology-enabled marketing, and communications solutions, announced the acquisition of entertainment and influencer marketing agency starpower. The agency, which has offices in New York and Los Angeles, was founded in 2007 by lifelong friends Matthew Lalin and Jared Weiss. Since then, starpower has been a leader in influencer, celebrity, and entertainment marketing, creating innovative and unique partnerships backed by data-driven social strategies for brands across health and wellness, consumer, lifestyle, entertainment, and sport.
A pioneer in “Hollywood meets Healthcare,” starpower has engaged high-profile talent to infuse pop culture and relevance into public education, marketing, and media campaigns. The team has worked with talent such as Serena Williams, Howie Mandel, and Chrissy Teigen along with networks of micro-influencers for targeted social campaigns. Notable work leveraging starpower’s influencer marketing expertise includes its partnership with Novo Nordisk and Anthony Anderson on the award-winning “Get Real About Diabetes” campaign, and “Bayer Presents the Luke Bryan Farm Tour”, which benefited Feeding America.
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“Consumer empowerment is more important than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates digitization and a sea change in the way people manage their life and health,” said Jennifer Gottlieb, Global President of W2O. “There couldn’t be a more important time for us to join forces with starpower as we continue to realize our vision to be the ‘first at what’s next’ in health. With telemedicine finally coming of age, consumers embracing the application of healthcare, and a renewed focus on wellness, it’s clear that influencers are more critical than ever before.”
“The explosive growth of digital and social channels coupled with the true maturation of influencer marketing as a discipline has opened the door to a whole new world of entertainment and media possibilities for brands in all sectors,” said Weiss. “Building off our heritage in the consumer, lifestyle and spirits industries, we have been working with health and wellness brands for a number of years to tell compelling stories in new ways, leveraging talent and influencers via social channels, streaming services, and digital media.”
“We’ve partnered with W2O since starpower’s inception and have always shared similar philosophies about maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit, the power of data, and a passion for powerful human storytelling,” said Lalin. “Given the extraordinary growth in branded entertainment and influencer marketing, it’s a natural time for us to join forces. This partnership will bring W2O’s fully integrated marketing and communications offerings to our existing clients in health and wellness, consumer and beauty, and to new clients, giving us the ability to deliver across the entire spectrum of client needs.”
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W2O and starpower have worked together on numerous campaigns over many years. This new partnership, which will further leverage starpower’s expertise and access, will bring a seamless, integrated approach to W2O’s clients.
The starpower team will operate under W2O’s single, integrated profit and loss (P&L) operation. The team will have access to W2O’s proprietary data models and tools as well as its 1,500-person strong multidisciplinary team – including data analysts, scientific strategists, branding experts, communications specialists, and creatives – to build unfair advantage for clients and their brands. The starpower leadership team will remain the same.
W2O’s approach to growth is to add experts and capabilities that address client needs and recommendations. This is the eighth acquisition W2O has completed since the company announced its partnership with New Mountain Capital about a year ago. This partnership and series of acquisitions continue to strengthen W2O’s offerings and further position the company as a go-to partner of choice to help clients accelerate clinical trials, achieve commercial success, and navigate and engage their stakeholders in an increasingly virtual, social, and digital post-COVID-19 pandemic reality.
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