CDS, a video maker that specializes in reaching millennials, has worked with numerous brands, perhaps most notably concocting Electronic Arts' Node channel. Now it's Purina's turn, and Altimeter media analyst Rebecca Lieb said the pet food brand likely wants to reach people who are turning their attention away from TV.
"There is real synchronicity between branded content and anything pet-related on the Web," Lieb said. "Content marketing is very viable. It's a great way of reaching consumers on a number of different levels."
Purina has already shown an appetite for innovative video marketing. For example, it recently teamed with Fine Brothers Entertainment for the Cats React To Viral Videos April Fools spoof, which now has 6,290,600 views. Also, the company partnered with BuzzFeed for A Cat's Guide To Taking Care of Your Human in late 2013. The millennial-targeted publisher said in its 2014 Upfront presentation that the campaign was one of its most successful branded videos.
Lieb pointed out that Purina has been especially active in creating digital advertising in three categories: entertainment, information and utilitarian content. Working with CDS will allow it to move deeper into the entertainment space and could help it cultivate buzzier materials, she said.
And, as the branded content category grows, the line between brand publications and editorial content is getting blurred.
"[Branded] content is going both more visual and more audiovisual as things get more mobile. Stay tuned for a lot more of these strategies," Lieb said.
CDS—a branch of management firm The Collective—might not be a household name but has a considerable footprint and has produced some buzzworthy online videos. The production company has distributed well-known Web shows like Video Game High School and Annoying Orange.
In addition, CDS has had success in the branded content space and runs the channel I Love Makeup (ILM), which is owned by cosmetics giant Bobbi Brown. Its 205,000 YouTube subscribers are more than Sephora's (200,000), Mac's (163,800) and Bobbi Brown parent company Estee Lauder's (9,733). Bobbi Brown's own YouTube channel only boasts a meager 35,821 subscribers.
Now, whether CDS can bolster Purina's status as the cat's meow of viral pet product marketing will be worth watching. Neither company responded to requests for comment.