Mobile crowdsourced data expert Field Agent, today announced the acquisition of retail media firm SMACK along with its online properties and marketing products.

The purchase affords Field Agent new opportunities to leverage its ever-growing mobile panel of over 1.4 million U.S.-based shoppers and to provide companies entirely new, shopper-driven methods for generating product awareness and purchase.

Rick West, co-founder, and CEO of Field Agent

“For years we’ve been connecting companies with their core consumers,” said Rick West, co-founder, and CEO of Field Agent. “With this purchase, we’ll now start using our crowd of consumers to build awareness of new products and ultimately move those products off store shelves.”

With the acquisition, Field Agent launches a new division, Field Media, consisting of two digital-content properties, Aisle 9 and Product 1. In contrast to conventional, “top-down” methods like banner ads, both Aisle 9 and Product 1 will showcase high-quality, trial-based, user-generated content for extensive distribution through social media and sponsored-content channels.

According to SMACK founder Sean Womack, who will serve as Field Media publisher, the new division will be managed separately from Field Agent’s research and auditing arms.

Sean Womack, Field Media publisher

“We’ve been working with Field Agent for over two years developing our publishing technology,” Womack said. “Once we landed on the Digital Demo, we realized how much sense it made to join forces.”

Field Media’s Digital Demo is disrupting the way brands think about shopper marketing and sales. The program directs shoppers to “buy and try” specific products in-store or online. Their feedback then becomes the basis for digital content published on Aisle 9 or Product 1, which is shared via social media or sponsored content channels. This program combines trial research, content generation, and everyday influencers into a single powerful tool proven to drive sales for the world’s largest brands.

Womack added, “We build awareness through the audience themselves by turning them into everyday influencers, which means other consumers are more likely to trust and act on the message.”

Field Media will specifically serve marketers and brand managers who previously lacked a targeted media solution, building on Field Agent’s current client base of Fortune 500 sales, operations, category, and research teams.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.