LeBron James has a new teammate.
The basketball legend’s SpringHill Company is launching a joint venture with U.S. advertising giant Interpublic Group that aims to pair Interpublic’s clients with a range of creators aligned with SpringHill, whose productions include films such as “Hustle” for Netflix; “The Wall” for NBC and “These Hands,” a project made with Procter & Gamble.
“We are really good at finding and developing diverse talent, and with that, create amazing opportunities for brands to create authentic stories,” says Devin Johnson, president of SpringHill, in n interview. He added: “I don’t think there’s any limit to the kinds of categories or brands we can work with.”
The new joint venture will be known as IPG x The SpringHill Company, and aims to connect creators of color with Interpublic’s clients, which include big advertisers such as Keurig Dr Pepper, Moderna, Verizon, General Motors and Microsoft. Under terms of the deal, SpringHill will work to pair up Interpublic advertisers with creative talent that might encompass anyone from artists to athletes. The new unit takes shape as more of Madison Avenue has grown concerned about connecting with a broader array of consumers from a range of different backgrounds.
“IPG’s people, clients and communities will all benefit from close collaboration with The SpringHill Company as we look to spark important, and sometimes difficult, conversations, elevate voices that need to be heard and help our clients connect with new creative perspectives and purpose-driven projects,” said Philippe Krakowsky, CEO of Interpublic Group, in a statement. “The relationship that we are announcing and formalizing today will help us meaningfully accelerate progress on that journey.” Under Krakowsky, who was named CEO in January of 2021, Interpublic has looked outside its current structure for new alliances. In April, Interpublic bought a stake in Famous Group, a company that specializes in event marketing and virtual reality promotions.
More traditional advertisers and agencies are relying on celebrities to help them find an authentic way of speaking to consumers. Actor Ryan Reynolds has created viral moments for upstart companies with his Maximum Effort agency. Kristen Bell in February launched Dunshire Productions, a production studio focused on advertising and promotion. The concept is not new. Omnicom Group’s DDB Worldwide has for years worked with director Spike Lee, establishing the boutique agency Spike DDB.
The companies did not discuss the financial terms of the deal, but Johnson says SpringHill remains free to work with advetisers and agencies that are not under Interpublic’s umbrella. Still, he adds, SpringHill can’t form a similar joint venture with an Interpublic rival.
Brendan Gaul, global chief content officer for IPG Mediabrands and global president of TRAVERSE32, an independent development and production studio backed by Interpublic, and Taj Tsonga, vice president and creative executive of TRAVERSE32, will lead the partnership for Interpublic Group. Chris White, executive vice president of brand partnerships at The SpringHill Company and Ricardo Viramontes, chief creative officer at The Springhill Company will lead the partnership for SpringHill.