Lady Gaga’s Ex-Manager Joins With Havas for Branding

  • Venture to advise on reaching younger consumers, new audiences
  • Dutch file-sharing company WeTransfer to be first client

French advertising company Havas SA plans a joint venture with Lady Gaga’s ex-manager Troy Carter to advise brands on targeting younger consumers and new audiences in the U.S.

The partnership with Carter’s Atom Factory Inc. will be called SMASHD Brand Innovation. It will sit inside Carter’s existing SMASHD Group, which houses a tech accelerator for startups and an editorial platform, Carter said. Carter, who last month joined music service Spotify Ltd. to strengthen its relationship with artists, said the partnership with Havas will develop brand strategies, introduce brands to new technologies and help create new apps, content and products. Its first client will be Amsterdam-based file-sharing company WeTransfer.

The venture is being announced Tuesday during the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival, an annual conference in the south of France for brands, ad agencies and technology companies. Atom Factory, which was an early investor in startups including Uber, Spotify and Dropbox, said the company will assist WeTransfer in its U.S. expansion by helping create a media platform with original content such as art films.

“They are a file-sharing platform for the entire creative platform, but how do you leverage and monetize that community?” Carter said in an interview. “By being a media player and getting into content.”

The new consultancy, which is based in New York and Los Angeles, is targeting brands in health care, technology and consumer packed goods, said Andrew Benett, global chief executive officer at the Havas Creative Group.

“We believe there is a need for a strategic brand partner who can identify opportunities to hone in on cultural shifts and fuel the creation of new technologies and programs,” said Benett. “By going straight to those who are defining culture, we can intertwine brands with trends in a natural way that drives them forward.”

The SMASHD Labs accelerator hosted seven startups last fall and will place another seven companies in the fall of 2016, Carter said. The accelerator from 2017 will host a lab matching brands with technology companies.

Carter’s Atom Factory once managed the careers of artists including Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth, and has invested a number of tech companies including Spotify, Uber, Dropbox and Lyft.

(Corrects final paragraph to show Atom Factory no longer manages Trainor and Puth.)
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