Snapchat, WPP and Daily Mail Create an Agency for Vertical Mobile Video

It's a pivotal moment for the emerging ad format

CANNES, France—Snapchat, The Daily Mail and WPP have formed an ad agency for an increasingly mobile era, one that appears to be shifting dramatically toward content creation for vertical screens.

The three companies hosted a joint conference today on a yacht in Cannes to announce a venture called Truffle Pig. Snapchat and its CEO Evan Spiegel have been all over the creative festival during its first few days, and this deal with WPP is a sign of the messaging platform's recent embrace of the advertising world.

"Snapchat and what they're doing in mobile along with us and along with others is critically important," WPP CEO Martin Sorrell said at the announcement. 

There is no minimum spending commitment from WPP and its brand clients to advertise on Snapchat.

Daily Mail North America CEO Jon Steinberg said he would pour energy into recruiting from among Sorrell's deep reservoir of contacts while in Cannes. Steinberg said he would be "vigorously working" to bring them to the agency's table. The creative studio is jointly owned by the three companies, which will be focused on developing vertical video for brands to market on mobile screens.

Snapchat has been promoting the vertical format, which it says is more engaging on phones because people simply don't want to have to turn their devices.

Truffle Pig will help brands develop and shoot videos for Snapchat and other platforms. Steinberg said that creating the agency is a bet on a vertical future, and all mobile video will eventually be vertical.

"[When] everything gets done in Truffle Pig, the question is, 'Where will it land? How will it be chopped up? How will it be deployed?' That's why it's so important to have Snapchat as a partner in this," Steinberg said. "Snapchat is a roaring platform. It's an absolute monster."

Sorrell added, "These things are becoming far more important in the context of our industry for differentiation."

The legendary ad man was talking about technology, data and content—all of which this trio of new partners can bring to the table.