In an effort to reclaim their reputation among millennial viewers and increase the company’s ability to advertise social media campaigns to both advertisers and brands, Viacom has acquired the influencer marketing company, Whosay. The terms of the deal are not yet disclosed.
Whosay was formed in 2010 by Steve Ellis and CAA and was originally intended to be a media company with an invitation only social network for celebrities. As of today, Whosay is a creative marketing agency that builds and produces branded content with “micro influencers” and major celebrities such as Cassadee Pope and Vanessa Williams. The company also identifies with brands such as McDonald’s and Aveeno to create and distribute relevant content.
According to Sean Moran, head of sales at Viacom, the acquisition will help the company to incorporate its social expertise across the sales and marketing organizations, and also to add to the work of Viacom Velocity’s branded content group.
“From a social standpoint, while we’ve had some excellent work there, it’s really been focused around our tentpoles like the MTV VMAs,” Moran said. “One of the reasons we’re so excited about Whosay is this instantly puts us into a 52-week capability to deliver social solutions [to advertising clients] with curated scale.”
Whosay has been associated with Viacom for more than two years, and they have successfully executed more than 50 campaigns for Viacom. They have generated close to $30 million in funding through investors such as Comcast Ventures, CAA, Greylock Partners, Amazon.com, High Peaks Ventures, and Tencent, among others. The company functions in areas such as campaign strategy, influencer talent vetting, and casting, content production, distribution, and performance guarantees. Whosay also gives its clients in-store and point-of-sale activation.
Overall, Whosay has executed more than 400 campaigns to date. These campaigns have generated over a billion impressions and more than 900 million user engagements. Their content is distributed across popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Currently, Whosay has 72 employees, and will continue to operate from its current offices in New York and Los Angeles as an independent organization, while collaborating with Viacom’s Marketing & Partner Solutions group.