Grand Union sets up Hubbub branded content venture

Grand Union is launching a branded content business named Hubbub and has hired Anna Watkins, a director at Stream, to be the managing director of the operation.

Watkins has worked in the field of branded content for nearly four years, most recently for Orange, Philips and Sony PlayStation. At Stream, she managed the two-for-one cinema ticket programme, Orange Wednesdays.

Rob Forshaw, a partner at Grand Union, said the decision to launch Hubbub reflected the increasing demand for branded content services.

"It is a growing market that is being serviced by media agencies rather than creative agencies. There is an opportunity to take the lead in this area," he said.

Britvic, a Grand Union client, is a strong supporter of branded content.

MindShare produced a series of branded magazines and short television programmes for its Fruit Shoot brand last year. Britvic is also understood to be working on an advertiser-funded television series.

"The strongest opportunity can be found in areas where clients already spend a large percentage of their budgets on sponsorship, which may be under-exploited," Forshaw commented. "Sponsorship should be about more than just sticking a brand name on something,"

Hubbub plans to recruit a number of staff in the coming months. Forshaw added that Grand Union's decision to set up the business was part of a wider expansion strategy.