Drew Buckley, COO of Electus, previews this week's Yahoo! panel
electus-drew-buckleyElectus is a new kind of studio; it partners with a wide variety of production companies to develop a strong slate of content. The company then matches that creative slate with advertiser goals and launches the resulting branded experiences both online and offline.
The Yahoo! Advertising Blog talked to the company's COO, Drew Buckley, who is a former Yahoo, and asked for his top tips for creating a branded entertainment hit. Here's a preview of what he'll be sharing at Thursday's Yahoo! panel on branded entertainment at The Ad Club in NYC:
Yahoo! Advertising Blog: What are the common denominators of successful branded entertainment?
Drew Buckley: The ones that are successful are basically the ones with content that is really good. It's content that people actually enjoy. At Electus, we're only investing in great, creative talent to create good experiences that consumers want to see. Our storytellers get what a brand wants to accomplish and they can actually build a story around it.
One great digital experience that we launched with Denny's and our partners, Will Arnett and Jason Bateman, is called "Always Open." We actually performed a talk show within a Denny's. Our host was comedian David Koechner, who was in "Saturday Night Live" and the sports anchor from "Anchorman." We do a number of fun interviews with celebrity talents, including Will and Jason, Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman, Kristen Bell and Will Forte.
Ad Week and different industry trades said it was a great branded, entertainment series that worked, because people were really glued to the conversations and the fun nature of it all. We also created this experience where the talent was inside a Denny's. They were sitting there eating Denny's meals.
In addition to all the views the series got, if you read the comments, you see a lot of people saying, "Well, actually, that looks good. I didn't know you could have a salad at Denny's," or, "Those pancakes look really good." So our Denny's client was really excited.
YAB: Do you find that humor is central to the success of branded entertainment online?
DB: We're really deeply invested in comedy. We believe that when you have so many choices for entertainment and when you have some free time to surf the Internet, most people go toward the short boost of great energy that comedy provides. You see that in the creative advertising commercials that grab your attention and stick in your head. Or just maybe in a fun video that was produced really well that gets shared by your friends.
YAB: Are consumers at all wary of branded entertainment?
DB: I think initially they were. There may not have been as much authenticity in the connection between the content and the brand. I think that was throwing people off. But, holistically, it works. If you're doing a story line and think, "What is a brand or a product that could actually make sense in the story?". If you're going to have a car speed chase, don't you want the fastest car?
In television alone, I think you're witnessing a lot of branded integration that you probably didn't even know is happening. It's gotten to a point where it's more seamless For example, reality, non-scripted show such as "The Biggest Loser." That is such a great story, an emotional story, but one that has great partnerships with General Mills, Wrigley, 24 Hour Fitness and Subway.
YAB: Tell me about the collaboration between the storytellers and the advertisers. What does that relationship look like?
DB: So the flow is that we are always working with the brand's goal. We work through the creative agency to help the brand define how to reach that goal. It's everyone coming together, but it always starts out with goals.
ready.set.danceFor example, late last year we did "Ready...Set...Dance!" on Yahoo!. That started with State Farm's goal---wanting to reach a younger audience. They wanted to target that 18 to 34 demo about the benefits of State Farm. The company knew how immersed this group is in pop culture, so that's why we came up with "Ready… Set… Dance!". We worked with Yahoo! and then the media agency OMD to launch the show. It was a 12-episode experience on Yahoo! Music that helped State Farm reach its goals, and it resonated with a younger demo.
YAB: Can you talk about why you chose to partner with Yahoo!?
DB: Obviously, Yahoo! just has the big scale of the audience reach. More than any other destination, Yahoo! can really produce programming and context. You go to the front page of Yahoo! and it's really like going to the front page of a newspaper. It's going to grab your attention. You're going to read the story.
But outside of that, Yahoo! also has the great sports section. It has the great lifestyle section, Shine. It's got a great news section, as we all know. If you were going to create a business show, like a CNBC show, you should also be thinking about Yahoo! Finance.
So when you start programming, you have a great way to fortify your experience on all those destinations. That's the beauty of Yahoo!. Plus, Yahoo! has great, creative folks who aren't just great creatives. They can also translate content for the advertisers. After all, at the end of the day, Yahoo!'s business is producing content that advertisers will want to invest in.
YAB: What's the next hot thing in digital branded entertainment?
DB: What's exciting us is coming up with ideas that aren't just for one platform, but are for many platforms. We just concluded this great experience called "Fashion Star," which is a television show that's going to air on NBC this February. It's a reality competition show, but it's quite different in that it ties in commerce, great style and great product.
When we're launching something like the show, it's similar to how we think about Yahoo! We want to make sure that this experience is touching many different platforms and destinations, rather than just being siloed. When we launch something on the front page of Yahoo!, we want to think about the other Yahoo! destinations where it could live. We ask, "How are we integrated into the Yahoo! apps?" and "How are we integrated into the Yahoo! widgets?"
With everything we do, we have to think across platforms.
--- Dianne Molina
Posted by dmolina