It’s time to accept – and embrace – the fact that branded content is everywhere, and when it’s executed well, it can be just as entertaining and “valuable” as non-branded content. As we wrote just this morning, BuzzFeed’s first TV commercial (for Friskies) was the most engaging ad of the past week, capturing a 4.5% Digital Share of Voice according to iSpot.TV.
In January 2014, Viacom created a new division, Viacom Velocity, devoted to leveraging its assets and marketing capabilities on behalf of brands. As Sam Thielman wrote for Adweek at the time of its launch:
The original content part of the unit—creative solutions, run by Neils Schuurmans, formerly evp of marketing and exec creative director at Spike—will serve partly as a think tank for new ideas. One example is Comedy Central’s recent half-hour prime-time special with Kevin Hart—called Serve & Protect—which led into Hart’s new movie with Ice Cube, Ride Along. The other part of the venture will be working with existing talent. Evp Dario Spina will head the integrated marketing half of the equation, working on content that “weaves in and out of our existing programming,” as Spina puts it. Both involve a significant amount of production oversight, as well as air traffic control between very different brands.
Nearly a year later, Velocity has just introduced a YouTube channel (which is telling about the state of content – linear vs. MCNs), and to kick things off, has created a hilarious look at cultivating talent in the modern era. Just as parents have long helped develop burgeoning athletes, musicians, and actors, they are now nurturing the next generation of Viners, Instagrammers, and YouTube stars.
“Viacom Velocity is adding another distribution platform to the mix with the launch of the Viacom Velocity YouTube channel,” Niels Schuurmans, EVP, Viacom Velocity Creative Content Solutions, Viacom Music and Entertainment tells Lost Remote. “This is a unique destination for fresh commentary on marketing culture, thought leadership work, original co-branded content, as well as it being an interactive hub to spotlight emerging and viral social talent. We just released ‘The Social Influence’ a short parody film on the hype around social influencers in marketing. It’s an example of the type of creative content and commentary you can expect from us going forward.”
Below, an exclusive look at Viacom Velocity’s first YouTube video, ‘The Social Influencer”: