Weber Shandwick's West Hollywood office has launched a new division called Social Studio to help the PR agency's clients build their online presence.

Social Studio is a digital production and distribution service that produces online content for mainstream media sites, blogs, online video sites and consumers who like to share media on social networks such as MySpace and Facebook.

The decision to launch the division was driven by the need for streaming video to capture the attention of today's audiences as they spend more time online, said Chris Perry, executive vice president of digital strategy and head of the agency's local office.

"Social Studio is designed to help our clients understand new-media best practices," he said. "And, in the process, improve how they shape, tell and share stories online."

Weber Shandwick clients such as General Motors Corp. and American Airlines will use the service to announce new products, or other news, using streaming video distributed by Social Studio.

While Weber Shandwick serves global companies, the division will serve smaller local businesses, too, Perry said.



Channeling Lexus

Team One Advertising in El Segundo is now firmly established in the TV production business with the second-season debut of "Web Therapy," an online series produced for luxury car brand Lexus.

"Web Therapy" stars actress Lisa Kudrow as a psychotherapist of uncertain credentials. The segments show three-minute sessions of her dubious counseling. For the second season, she will counsel some recognizable stars from Hollywood, including her former "Friends" co-star Courteney Cox.

The show airs on LStudio.com, the Lexus Web site that also features video of the auto maker's latest models, plus short documentaries and films, not necessarily related to cars. All content on the site is produced by City of Industry-based Intelligent Life Productions in collaboration with Team One, Lexus' agency.

Aside from a Lexus logo that appears at the end of the credits, "Web Therapy" has no advertising.

At-the-Pump Merger

Outcast, a Santa Monica company that sells outdoor video advertising, and AdtekMedia, the Irvine-based owner of PumpTop TV, have formed a joint venture to create the nation's largest at-the-pump digital network.

The combined network will have more than 12,600 video screens at gas stations with an estimated audience of 20 million consumers. Advertisers can target consumers based on demographics, geography or other factors such as weather and traffic.

"This partnership represents a major step forward in marketplace consolidation and streamlines the media buying process, a request we consistently hear from marketers and media buyers alike," Matthew Stoudt, Outcast chief executive, said in a statement.

Stengel Joins UCLA

Jim Stengel, the former head of global marketing at Procter & Gamble, has joined the faculty of the UCLA Anderson School of Management as an adjunct professor.

He also has a new consulting firm, Jim Stengel LLC, with the mission to "rethink marketing" for clients, according to a statement from the university.

Stengel serves on the board of Motorola Corp. and on the advisory board for Marketshare Partners, a West L.A.-based company that measures audience for advertisers.

"His deep knowledge and experiences will provide an exciting opportunity for our students to learn from a marketing leader who has transformed some of the world's most visible brands, and his collaborative work with our faculty will enrich the field of marketing research," Judy Olian, dean of the Anderson School, said in a statement.

Agencies & Accounts

Steve Bentz is the new vice president of advertising at Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion. Previously, Bentz was vice president of advertising at the Los Angeles Times. Joleen Deatherage of Shoestring Creative Group in Culver City has been tapped by the Environmental Health Coalition to develop a new logo and tagline for the organization. The project is funded by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation. Activision Blizzard in Santa Monica has signed Mediaedge:cia as its media planning and buying agency of record. Before the July 2008 merger with Vivendi Games, Activision's media buyer was Starcom MediaVest Group. Carlos Viramontes, the marketer who developed the U.S. Hispanic market for Anheuser-Busch Cos., has opened consultancy Viramontes Marketing Communications in Downey. The office includes facilities for recording focus group sessions. Passantino Andersen, a Palmdale PR agency specializing in real estate, has hired John Woodman as vice president. Troika Design Group in Hollywood has delivered a new look to Telemundo, the Spanish-language TV network owned by NBC Universal. The company did new graphics, promotional segments and 48 affiliate station identifications for Telemundo. Kravetz & Co. PR has signed two new clients, the Edison Ballroom in New York and Rosemary's Garden, an L.A. rock band.

Staff reporter Joel Russell can be reached at jrussell@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 237.

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