The New York Times Company has deepened its commitment to immersive video with the acquisition of Fake Love, a design agency specializing in live experiences and virtual and mixed reality.
Announced today, the all-cash transaction closed on Thursday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The acquisition will be used to expand the services of T Brand Studio, the Times Company’s in-house branded content studio.
The New York Times has been something of corporate evangelist for virtual reality (VR). In 2015, it partnered with Chris Milk of VRSE Studios on a series of 360-degree documentaries, including “Walking in New York” and “The Displaced,” the latter of which examined the lives of three children, from South Sudan, eastern Ukraine and Syria, uprooted by war.
To make sure its readers could watch the videos, last November, it released a free New York Times VR app, developed in collaboration with the virtual reality studio IM360, and sent more than one million Google Cardboard viewers bundled with papers to home delivery subscribers.
With the addition of Fake Love, on the heels of its acquisition of social media marketing agency HelloSociety in March, the New York Times has an array of tools to better monetize that VR content pipeline.
Founded by Laurie Braunstein and Josh Horowitz, Fake Love has a list of clients that includes American Express, Bacardi Capitol One, Coca-Cola, Dell, LG, MTV, Samsung, Time Warner Cable, Under Armour, Universal Pictures, the U.S. Air Force and Vice.
Last fall, Fake Love collaborated with T Brand Studio and The Weinstein Company on a a 360-degree video campaign for the film “Carol,” starring Cate Blanchett (above), and worked with creative agency 180 LA and HP to create the “Sound Wars” experience for red carpet of the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” premiere.
“We’ve worked with Fake Love on projects in the past and have been very impressed with their experiential and creative skills,” said Sebastian Tomich, The Times’ SVP of advertising and innovation, in a statement. “We’re now very excited to pair their capabilities with our ad products on The Times, with T Brand Studio, as we expand into producing campaigns off of The Times and into the fast-growing worlds of VR and AR. Fake Love, combined with the social marketing capabilities of HelloSociety and T Brand’s branded content work, puts us in a really unique position as a multifaceted agency. It’s a real culminating moment for T Brand and we’re definitely open for business.”