NEW YORK MSN and sibling news site MSNBC.com have joined forces to launch Fit to Boom, an original series that features a group of baby boomers who have recently embarked on major, health-driven life changes.
The new show is produced by Reveille, which has partnered with MSN on several original entertainment series over the past few years including Driving School and The Big Debate. Fit to Boom comes out of MSN’s Branded Entertainment & Experiences Team, and is being sponsored by Subway.
The show features short vignettes of real boomers like 52-year old Phyllis Coletta, who ditched a successful New Jersey law career to ride horses and work at a ski slope in Colorado. The idea behind Fit to Boom is to both entertain and inspire viewers, according to Reveille managing director Mark Koops.
“This is an entertainment and education platform,” Koops said. “We are trying to deliver audiences and drive participation levels. You can use these videos to tell compelling stories, and also provide people with tools to take action in their own lives.”
For example, alongside its video content the Fit to Boom site will direct interested users to relevant local businesses and services that can help them with their own life changes.
As for advertising, Fit to Boom episodes carry Subway-branded pre-roll video spots and occasional product mentions, and sponsorship messaging appears throughout the show’s site. Plus, in a series of side videos Fit to Boom subjects like Coletta describe their favorite Subway sandwich variations. The fast-food chain is also running a Fit to Boom contest that will award one winner $20,000 to put toward his or her own major life change.
Subway and Reveille have partnered in the past for branded entertainment initiatives on TV (NBC’s The Biggest Loser and American Gladiators). But this is Subway’s first branded entertainment Web series. “With all the fragmentation in the market, you need to find different ways to get your message out there,” said Tony Pace, svp, CMO of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust. “We’re aggressive by nature. We have to do more things like this. In general, we feel like the attentiveness [for branded content] is greater.”
Plus, the content enables Subway to reach out to boomers -- not its typical audience, while hammering home its healthy lifestyle association.
Indeed, Fit to Boom is different by nature, given its older-by-Web-video standards boomer target. That should help the show stand out in a cluttered space, said Gian LaVecchia, senior vp/group media director of Publicis Modem, Subway’s digital agency. “This was an opportunity to create really compelling content for an audience that is coming online faster than anybody, but have had very little targeted to them,” he said. “This should really be a breakthrough show.” —with Nellie Andreeva, The Hollywood Reporter