Now WPP’s outdoor specialist Kinetic tries its hand at creative with launch of new agency Fuel

Time was when Kinetic, WPP’s out of home specialist media buyer, was a London poster specialist called Poster Publicity.

It planned and bought poster campaigns mostly, mostly for generous rates of commission based on the assumption that buying posters was a laborious activity in comparison to buying TV or press.

WPP bought a half share a few years ago and is in the process of buying the lot from the exiting Poster Publicity management, most recently former CEO Eric Newnham.

But Kinetic, now a fully-fledged international business, has bigger ambitions than buying poster campaigns. It describes itself as “the global leader in understanding how brands can connect with people’s lifestyles and the environments they engage with.”

Which isn’t exactly pithy but you get the idea.

Kinetic, which is also the biggest element in WPP’s international out of home offering tenth avenue, is now trying its hand at creative with the formation of a new unit called Fuel. This will be headed by Rebecca Bainbridge (pictured), a former Poster Publicity planner who has since spent time at WPP-owned brand consultancy Landor in Geneva.

According to WPP Fuel will “form a creative hub within Kinetic and operate across the agency, bringing together experts from across a broad range of existing disciplines including digital, mobile, experiential and strategic planning. Working in collaboration with the Kinetic planning team, Fuel will keep clients ahead of the opportunity curve by providing insight and opinion on emerging technologies and identifying cross platform opportunities to amplify OOH campaigns.”

The key to what Fuel will do seems to lie in the phrase “bringing together experts from across a broad range of existing disciplines.”

Does this mean actual creatives (freelance possibly) producing campaigns or just an effort to muscle in on the planning services provided by other agencies? It’s quite likely that Fuel (interestingly there seem to be quite a few other agencies called Fuel) and indeed WPP don’t quite know yet.

But Kinetic, which dominates the worldwide out of home buying market along with the Aegis-owned Posterscope, has so far proved remarkably clever at increasing its scope and influence with both clients and outdoor media owners.

Fuel could be its most ambitious move to date.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.