Web Series 2.0: Big Campaigns on Digital Dollars

Monday, March 15, 2010
Melissa Fallon – Davie Brown Entertainment
Chris Hanada – Retrofit Films
Milo Ventimiglia – DiVide Pictures
Wilson Cleveland – CJP Digital Media
Andrew Hampp  – Advertising Age

As social media campaigns move to the forefront of the digital space, major brands and advertisers are looking for savvy producers and content creators to help them maximize their ad budgets. Learn from top producers in this new field how to produce fantastic content with digital (read fewer) dollars.
Twitter: #BCDD

How are you working with brands, and what is the economic structure?

  • It’s about making the money work for you.
  • There is a fine line between brand managment/message and entertainment. Utilize the entertainment to get the ad out. Distribution is the toughest – how do we get it out there. Where is this creative content going to live? How do we walk that fine line between brand and entertainment?
  • IKEA (IKEA Easy to Assemble): Much of the branded entertainment done is allowing brands to tell their story, and not be dependent on the traditional spot. IKEA’s entire goal is to have people watch it and remember it.

How do you market a web series these days?

  • It depends on what the brand wants.
  • IKEA said push the brand/show out there, and whoever gets the most viewers will get to be in the season finale.
  • Get the enthusiasts of the brand involved, ask blogs to be a part of the distribution.
  • It is really hard to measure how well it does.
  • How do you extend the creative content shelf-life? Get them and hold them.
  • Paid marketing more safe, but social media is more authentic

How are clients planning ahead for these types of things?

  • Big brands don’t look at digital as a less expensive alternative – they are looking at digital as a large part of their marketing mix now. Brands don’t have the same model (4 bombs with 1 success) as a studio might have. It’s a little safer to jump into something already established vs. starting some new unique content.
  • If a brand is bringing a series out, they aren’t a media company and don’t really know how much it costs (they’re new to this world). It is a new skill set for a brand.
  • Marketing executives are now production executives, “I don’t understand scripts, I can give you my input after it’s cut.”
  • The fact that a brand will even invest in a web series isn’t easy. It’s a big risk for a brand to do this.
  • It’s about the honest dialog with the producer about what you want to accomplish – where is the brand represented? What does a brand need to accomplish?
  • Getting into branded online media not about cool factor, but about strategic goals.

What is the capacity for a brand to poke fun at themselves?

  • Nissan said no villains could drive the car, couldn’t crash the car – they’re very strict with the rules.
  • IKEA is shot inside the store.
  • What are looking to do exactly? Verizon in 30 Rock getting a quick plug – what exactly does that do? They already have brand awareness. What does this accomplish for them?
  • Syndicate, syndicate, syndicate. Asking a lot of an audience to come to your microsite to watch.

How do you measure how well this is working?

  • Universal mesurement for engagement [ROI] is still illusive because all brands have different goals.

Talent: How do you attract A-list talent to these properties?

  • The stereotype against the web has changed a lot in the last few years. Technology has leveled the playing field – people are more aware of it now. Engage them as more than actors/writers, involve them more in the process.
  • SAG now says it is important, so actors are seeing it’s important.
  • Many actors are doing these because it’s fun and different. They get to be part of the creative process since many times the money isn’t there.
  • Sometimes actors are getting scale, sometimes a lot of money, sometimes it’s just a favor and “fun” hang out on a weekend and shot it.


gravatar Wilson Cleveland

Hey Scott –

Thanks for posting a summary of our panel. I hope you enjoyed it. Quick favor: The IKEA-sponsored series I work on and was speaking about is ‘Easy to Assemble’ (http://mydamnchannel.com/easytoassemble) and not ‘IKEA Heights.’ IKEA Heights was actually shot guerilla style at IKEA and is not sponsored or approved by IKEA. Would you mind making a quick switch?

Thanks again for being there.


gravatar Scott

@Wilson Cleveland
Sorry about that, IKEA Heights was the first one that came up in google, and I didn’t hear it mentioned in the talk (though it probably was). The link/title is corrected now.

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