Sauce, which stands for Simple Advertising Using Creative Excellence, will be headed by MailOnline commercial art director Shane Smith. The unit is being set up to undertake more creative work in-house, establish stronger ties with existing advertisers and attract new clients to MailOnline. It will be housed within the Daily Mail's digital and print creative solutions team.
Sauce, which is expected to be three-strong initially, will be given the responsibility of delivering tailored briefs for MailOnline clients through the use of formats including video, podcasts, film and widgets.
It will primarily target automotive, fast-moving consumer goods and fashion brands, and is looking to deal with big-spending clients running campaigns of between six and 12 months.
The division will work with agencies such as I-Level's social media arm, Jam, to produce advertising. Andy Mitchell, commercial director at Associated Northcliffe Digital, said Sauce would take on "bigger, wider executions" that tend to lend themselves to fashion and FMCG brands.
The creation of the unit comes as MailOnline signs Nivea as the first advertiser on its new bellyband ad format, which stretches across the width of the site.
The Nivea campaign is running across four areas on the site - Femail, Health, Coffee Break and You magazine - until the end of this month.
In July ABCe revealed that MailOnline, the website of the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday, increased its unique user base by 57.7% year on year for July, taking its total to 18.7 million, making it the third-most-popular UK newspaper website, behind Guardian.co.uk and Telegraph.co.uk.
The creation of the dedicated digital creative unit follows the development in June of a specialised digital sales unit for MailOnline.
Previously, one digital sales team handled advertising across Associated Newspapers' entire digital network, including MailOnline, Metro.co.uk, property site Findaproperty.com and financial website Thisismoney.co.uk.
The new digital sales team was hived off from Associated Northcliffe Digital's 15-strong sales team. The strategy to establish a dedicated digital sales team for MailOnline mirrored the set-up at other national newspaper sites, with Guardian.co.uk, The Sun Online, Times Online and Telegraph.co.uk all calling on their own dedicated digital sales teams.