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.