Meet Watch Awards Talent Judge Amber J. Lawson

Comedy Gives Back CEO speaks about online video trends

Entrepreneur and producer Amber J. Lawson has made a career out of spotting innovative ways to create content online. Recently, she’s noticed that it’s not just the the average joe coming up with good ideas: Brands are cashing in on the action, too.

Web shows like Chipotle's Farmed and Dangerous and films like The Lego Movie turn your traditional promotional material into a piece of branded entertainment.

“The content space has finally come full circle where brands are reasserting themselves as content creators,” said Lawson, one of the talent judges for Adweek's Watch Awards.

The online media player has always dabbled in comedy throughout her career. Several of her projects navigated the switch between the online sphere and the real world (and vice versa) back at a time when the trend was not that common.

Her talent competition web show Pop Girl was turned into a television movie called Alyx. Comedy Cocktail, a live sketch comedy show she co-created, ended up spawning the web series Ask A Ninja and Super Seniors (which eventually inspired the TV show Workaholics.)

Lawson said it's much more acceptable now to start out online and make it to television. She pointed to IFC's Portlandia and Broad City as prime examples. 

“I am a huge fan of content that is piloted online, builds an audience, finds its voice and crosses platform,” Lawson said.

Lawson’s most proud of her work with Comedy Gives Back, which she created in 2011. The organization works with charities, comedians, online talent and other entertainment influencers to create livestreamed comedy events to raise awareness and funds about a variety of social issues. 

A reccent example: a global digital fundraiser for Malaria No More, which involved 85 comics, six live shows, five venues and three continents — all in just 24 hours. "I'm extremely proud that I can put great comedic talent to work for a cause,” she said.

Submissions for the Watch Awards are due by April 14.