Tim Armstrong’s Direct-to-Consumer Company Rolls Out Its First Product to Help Brands Reach More Customers

Unbox is a DTC 'ecosystem'

Unbox logo
Unbox is the first brand out of dtx. Unbox
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Unbox, the first brand out of dtx, the company founded by former Oath CEO Tim Armstrong to invest in direct-to-consumer brands, is officially here, offering brands a new type of marketing experience.

With Unbox, codes and tags across all types of marketing channels from digital to catalogs will let consumers quickly scan the code and learn more about a brand through a video or being sent directly to the website. Unbox’s promise to DTC brands is that it’ll give these companies data that’s normally a bit more guarded by digital platforms such as Facebook and Google or harder to attribute such as with out-of-home and television.

“This is a very consumer-driven initiative where there’s this huge segment of emerging new innovative brands that are offering something different to consumers and consumers don’t know where to turn to discover,” said Jim Norton, the newly hired chief revenue officer of dtx. “Today, especially in a walled garden environment like Facebook and Google, [brands are] very limited in the data that they’re getting unless there’s a transaction that takes place. [Unbox] gives brands direct access to those consumers and consumers direct access to those brands without an intermediary.”

Unbox wants to give DTC brands the insights and data that it believes is missing in the current landscape. Norton said since the consumer lives in an omnichannel world, Unbox wants to give brands better attribution as to what’s working between an event or OOH to catalogs. For now, brands are expected to pay a “one-time commitment fee,” reports The Wall Street Journal, but Norton said Unbox is experimenting with different pricing packages for brands, such as the usual sponsorship model to a revenue sharing one.

“Today attribution is largely last click based,” Norton said. “We believe attribution needs to go far beyond [that].”

For the initial rollout, Unbox is working with a variety of DTC brands such as Care/of, Recess, Quip, Function of Beauty, and Dirty Lemon, which, like Unbox, is part of the dtx portfolio.

Zak Normandin, CEO and founder of Dirty Lemon, whose parent company Iris Nova, received an investment from the dtx company, acknowledges that while all of this is still in the early stages, it’s ripe time for DTC brands to “think beyond traditional customer acquisition strategies.” From events to OOH placements, that’s exactly what Unbox plans on doing. For a company like Iris Nova, where its marketing resources are concentrated in specific areas, Unbox gives them an opportunity to try new channels like OOH—with a company that can handle finding the placement and measuring the data.

Norton said for now, the company’s focus is on the b-to-b aspect of Unbox, but that a more consumer-focused rollout will come in September as the company gears up for the Midwest Tour—which rolls through Ohio, Indiana and Michigan—and National DTC Day that the company is hosting in New York City on Nov. 15. However, Norton said Unbox is aiming to “become a destination for consumers.”

Norton said the Midwest Tour is a chance to give DTC brands that have done “a very good job” on the coasts another market and opportunity to reach a new consumer. National DTC Day also plays into making Unbox a consumer destination, as the live event will not only showcase DTC brands unveiling new products ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Week, but also a chance to delve deeper into the SoHo neighborhood (which is where the event will be held). For now, there’s no official TV or OTT streaming partner, but Norton said it’s in the works.

“We are aiming to create an ecosystem that is both online and offline,” Norton said. “A true ominchannel, multichannel environment that brands can use in ways that suit their story. We believe that through an ecosystem that we’re building we can help them achieve better customer acquisition costs returns than [brands are] already getting.”

In addition to the Unbox news, the dtx company also announced it acquired AskTipster, a social discovery network and hired Norton, as well as Rich Przekop from Jet.com at its chief product officer, Jennifer Deason, a former evp, global head of strategy and corporate development at Sotheby’s as the chief financial and business officer and Paul Cappuccio, former evp and general counsel of Time Warner, as vice chairman.

@itstheannmarie annmarie.alcantara@adweek.com Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.