Ideocracy Plans ‘FutureMe’ Expansion

NEW YORK Ideocracy, seeking to change the format and broaden the target audience of the FutureMe career makeover show it created for global staffing giant Adecco in Europe this year, is negotiating with the SBS network in the Netherlands about airing season two.

The first season, which consisted of six half-hour episodes, ran in the spring on MTV in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Ideocracy, on behalf of Adecco, is talking to SBS about using one of its channels, either Veronica or 6, for season two, according to Michel Stokvis, director of marketing for Adecco’s Benelux region.

In addition, Adecco and Ideocracy are seeking a co-sponsor this time and are in advanced talks with a global food company that Stokvis declined to disclose. Adecco hopes to finalize a broadcasting partner and co-sponsor by year’s end and air new episodes in the second quarter of 2009.

The changes come as Adecco and Ideocracy seek to broaden the appeal and reach of the show and shift stylistically from a quick-cutting reality program for teenagers to a more adult-orientated documentary approach, said Ted D’Cruz-Young, principal of Ideocracy in New York.

Each past FutureMe episode featured a twentysomething job seeker who underwent a series of initiation rites designed to reveal his or her abilities and career goals. Going forward, Ideocracy is toying with the idea of featuring a subject in multiple episodes, provided his or her story is compelling enough.

The show is a form of unbranded content that has become part of Adecco’s marketing mix. People who sign up for casting calls submit resumes that become part of Adecco’s database. Web sites related to FutureMe also include links to the Glattbrugg, Switzerland-based company’s site.

The first season generated high enough ratings to become a top three show for MTV in the Benelux region, with the most popular episode attracting about 100,000 viewers, Stokvis said.

Adecco’s core target audience for FutureMe previously ranged in age from 16 to 25 years old; now, the company hopes to appeal to people in their early 20s to mid-30s, said Stokvis. What’s more, the new episodes may run as long as an hour, said D’Cruz-Young.

“We can’t have the kind of [attention deficit disorder] format that we had,” D’Cruz-Young explained.

Given a co-sponsor, FutureMe will likely move from just a work-related program to one that also delves into issues related to personal well-being and health, such as being overweight, according to Stokvis.