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Hulu Pushing Further Into Branded Entertainment With Alloy

Ford and Schick's Web series takes aim at single women

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For the third time in five months, Ford's testing branded online video entertainment. The Detroit automotive brand and Schick are sponsoring the second installation of “Dating Rules,” a Web video series by Alloy Digital that premiered on Hulu Wednesday (Aug. 1).

The series chronicles the fictional life of a twenty-something woman named Chloe Cunningham who communicates with her future self. Episodes will run twice a week on Hulu through Aug. 20, each clocking in from six to eight minutes. Schick’s Quattro For Women shaving line and the 2013 Ford Escape will both see their products integrated within episodes of "Dating Rules."

Alloy is pulling out all the stops to draw viewers to "Rules." Vignettes of the shows will be available on the show's dedicated Facebook and YouTube pages. Banner and video ads are running on Alloy Digital's network, including sites like Crushable, The Gloss, Mommyish, Blisstree, Hollywire, Hollyscoop, and CollegeCandy.

While the ads promote “Dating Rules,” they also include Ford and Schick. Both brands are running sweepstakes in conjunction with the initiative, while Schick, part of Energizer Holdings Inc. in St. Louis, Mo., will also pitch coupons.

Thomais Zaremba, Ford’s digital marketing manager, said the multi-brand venture would target women aged between 25 and 35. “Typically, they are single,” she said. “They don’t have children. Really the content is perfect for that type of consumer. It allows us to  show the Escape integrated into their lifestyle.”

Charles Chubet is a digital director for MEC, the media agency that helped Schick Quattro For Women land in its first branded Web video series. “It’s an excellent opportunity for the brand to explore some new territory,” he said. “The product integration was key and was seamless. It didn’t seem staged at all.”

The online show’s first season ran in January and, according to Alloy, garnered 14 million views on Hulu, YouTube and Alloy’s video properties.

Meanwhile for Ford, the "Dating Rules" play builds on a reality video series it sponsored on Yahoo in May. To push the Ford Focus Electric, the 10-episode series challenged contestants with a cross-country scavenger hunt, driving an electric car. In addition, the brand live-streamed a game show in April which was tied to an NBC reality TV show.