DiddyTV Gets Off to Rough Start

NEW YORK Burger King was hoping for some brand glow by teaming up with Sean “Diddy” Combs to launch DiddyTV, a YouTube brand channel.

So far, though, it’s gotten a lot of scorn.

In the welcome video posted last Saturday, Diddy is shown in a Burger King ordering a Whopper, announcing the fast-food chain had anointed him “the king of music and fashion.” He explained the “two kings” teamed up to launch DiddyTV. Combs’ Bad Boy Records, part of Warner Bros., is hyping the launch of his Press Play album due out next week, while Burger King wants to find a way to participate in the hot video-sharing site by attaching itself to in-demand content.

Yet in the first week, the exercise has pointed to the limits and risks of this approach. Diddy’s video was widely panned in the comments section, with many making fun of him for “selling out” to Burger King and others bemoaning celebrities and advertising trying to buy their way into the community. It has even spawned parody videos, including one by popular YouTube contributor LisaNova in which she purports to link up with her fruit stand to launch LisaNovaTV.

The spoof is vying with DiddyTV for popularity. Diddy’s video has received 700,000 views, LisaNova’s 534,000, but users have rated the spoof much higher than Diddy’s. YouTube proved its evenhandedness with treating advertiser content and user content equally by promoting LisaNova’s video on its front page this week.

YouTube, which was bought by Google for $1.65 million this week, is counting on brand channels like DiddyTV as part of its strategy to develop a user-friendly advertising model. Early brand venues have included a Warner Bros. Paris Hilton channel, which Fox linked up with to advertise Prison Break, and one for ESPN’s Monday Night Football.