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Palate, the new specialist culinary shop, enters Adland

For­mer Saveur pub­lish­ing exec­u­tive Mer­rii Lee Kingsly is switch­ing careers to head a new ad agency spe­cial­iz­ing in the culi­nary market.

Sched­uled to be launched short­ly in New York, the new ven­ture – “Palate” – is the brain­child of the gener­ic, Texas-based agency FKM.

The rise of the spe­cial­ist ad agency

The ad busi­ness is today char­ac­ter­ized by a pro­lif­er­a­tion of online adver­tis­ing agen­cies focus­ing on nar­row busi­ness sec­tors. Aside from the move to reach the mobile con­sumer (wit­ness the part­ner­ship between AdMo­bius and StrikeAd and the grow­ing invest­ment in mobile adver­tis­ing by SMBs), shops are def­i­nite­ly head­ing toward specialisms.

The pub­lish­ing world has secured sev­er­al high pro­file recruits from dig­i­tal ad agen­cies recent­ly (like Lau­ra Lang) but on this occa­sion the move was in the oppo­site direc­tion. Ms. Kingsly has amassed twen­ty years of expe­ri­ence in work­ing with food com­pa­nies dur­ing her pub­lish­ing career. She found her way to Palate after a shift of empha­sis at Saveur led her to spend increas­ing amounts of time liais­ing with food brands to cre­ate unique web con­tent aimed at con­sumers whose inter­ests went way beyond col­lect­ing recipes.

A Palate-able new market

Copy­writ­ers and art direc­tors take note: spe­cial­ist know-how pays. Palate isn’t going to oper­ate like a stan­dard part­ner agency; due to her exten­sive expe­ri­ence and cat­a­log of con­tacts, Kingsly has lit­tle need for lay­ers of expen­sive account man­agers. Instead she has forged an impres­sive 40-strong expert alliance with mar­keters, som­me­liers, mixol­o­gists and pre­mier chefs who will between them have emerg­ing new trends firm­ly on their radar.

Palate’s Pres­i­dent and Chief Cre­ative Offi­cer, Scott Brown, explained the shop will pio­neer a new form of research and account plan­ning, which will deliv­er “a faster form of learn­ing than tra­di­tion­al research that will allow brands to jump on emerg­ing opportunities.”

The shop intends to be unique to the food and bev­er­age mar­ket and will con­cen­trate on direct-to-brand rela­tion­ships. The restau­ra­teurs in the alliance, which include pres­ti­gious names like the Break­ers in Palm Beach and Jean Gorges in New York, get a gold­en chance to expand their brands and delve into poten­tial­ly lucra­tive menu plan­ning deals with big restau­rant chains.

Already, one of the big food brands on FKM’s ros­ter (which includes names like Graeter’s ice cream and Bertol­li Olive Oil) is already set to move over to Palate upon its launch.

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