When brands buy native content, they want to know the mindset of the influencers. So, to convince advertisers to devote part of their budgets to Collective Digital Studio, the multi-channel network invited some of its top influencers — its creators — to share the stage at its first Digital Content NewFront presentation in New York.
The Tuesday event—hosted by comedy duo Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln "Link" Neal III (better known as Rhett and Link)—introduced a handful of the company's talent to advertisers and let them make their appeals without getting too preachy.
CDS claims it had 1.5 billion views throughout its 1,000 channels last month, and said it had a growing presence on Vine, with its top 15 campaigns reaching 158 million loops. It's home to the most successful scripted series on YouTube, Video Game High School, with more than 115 million views. CDS also touted its past successful campaigns for brands, including four Super Bowl initiatives that garnered 40 million views on YouTube.
"This is all pure organic," CDS ceo Reza Izad said. "This is the power of influencer-based marketing."
The MCN brought Viners Matt Espinoza, Logan Paul, Rudy Mancuso and Princess Lauren on stage to share a bit more about their #waterballoonfight campaign, a social media initiative where participants share a photo of themselves with a water balloon and "hit" their friends.So far, it's garnered 56 million Twitter impressions, 13 million Vine loops, and 3 million Snapchat opens. It even unseated Cinco De Mayo as the top Twitter trend Tuesday for a short time.
YouTubers Wendy Nguyen, Meredith Foster and Alexa Losey also took time to explain why they thought their beauty videos resonated so well with the audience.
"Our creators have a different relationship with their audience, a different bond," CDS chief revenue officer Scott Weller said. "Movie stars may be untouchable… but digital stars are friends."
Upcoming for CDS includes:
- Prank Week: A week-long event of social media content that will tap top pranksters on YouTube and Vine, including Vitalyzd, Roman Atwood, Fousey Tube, Logan Paul, Rudy Mancuso and Matt Espinoza. CDS said it's meant to rival the virality of Discovery's Shark Week.
- A partnership with Insomniac Events, the producers of electronic dance music (EDM) festival Electric Daisy Carnival.
- The adaptation of James Patterson's New York Times-best seller Maximum Ride, which will be executive produced by YouTube creator Jenna Marbles.
- Shaycation, a travel show hosted by Pretty Little Liars actress Shay Mitchell.
- Fake Company Incorporated, a series by Improv Everywhere which will prank new employees in the workplace. Episodes include having people enter a job where everyone they meet gets increasingly younger from the teen ceo to a boardroom full of babies.
- Epic Tool Time, a spin-off of Epic Meal Time where the team will build crazy contraptions in lieu of cooking outrageous food.