Tastemade Sees Success with Branded Originals, Plans to Do More

/ Mar 19, 2015


For brands still on the fence about sponsoring or creating branded content with YouTube creators and networks, Tastemade, a network devoted to food and travel content, has some data for you: Sponsored content produced by Tastemade nabs higher brand recall, brand affinity, purchase intent, and “positive brand perception” when compared to 30-second pre-rolls and regular TV spots.

The data comes from Nielsen, which was commissioned by Tastemade to measure the effectiveness of itsnielsen sponsored content versus that of the more traditional forms of video advertising. In the study, 800 people were asked to watch two of Tastemade’s branded original series, a broadcast sitcom with a full commercial load, and online short-form content with 30-second pre-rolls interspersed throughout. They were surveyed twice, both prior to and after the viewing session.

According to Nielsen’s findings:

  • The number of viewers, on average, who “will definitely” recommend an evaluated product to a peer increased 12 times with Tastemade’s branded content versus ads for that brand running as pre-rolls or TV spots.
  • There were 31% more respondents who said they were increasingly likely to make a purchase after being exposed to a Tastemade video versus a TV commercial or digital pre-roll for the same brand.
  • 71% of respondents said that brands sponsoring Tastemade content were more memorable than a typical commercial for the same brand.
  • And, on average, Tastemade content generated double the brand affinity lift when compared to a digital pre-roll or TV spot for the same brand.

The results confirm what Tastemade already knew, says Oren Katzeff, head of programming at the network. “We create high-quality content, and we know it’s engaging and we know our audiences love it because we see the comments and the shares and the overall social activity around the videos,” he says, “but what we always suspected was that it also led to greater brand affinity and purchase intent. Our content does move the needle for brands, the way we tell them it’s happening.”

Tastemade is not unlike many other digital networks and publishers, which seek to work with brands to create original series — with the brand typically financing the effort. While there can be some issues with this development model, Tastemade has long touted its ability to create compelling programming that can stand on its own — it just so happens to have a brand sponsor on board.

tastemade grill iron 2For instance, the two series included in the Nielsen study, “Local Flight” and “The Grill Iron,” are more travel series than overt commercials for Grey Goose and Hyundai. “Local Flight” follows host Shawn Thomas as he travels to 12 different cities to seek out unique cocktails with a “local flair.” “The Grill Iron” follows host Jax Tranchida as she visits 13 of the top college football schools in the country and pairs a local chef with a top tailgate group to create interesting pre-game dishes.

According to YouTube viewership data provided by Tastemade, “Local Flight” has generated more than 1.9 million views and “The Grill Iron” has accumulated more than 5.3 million views to date.

With “Local Flight,” Katzeff has a few more interesting stats. Every episode of the series runs for 7-10 minutes. Tastemade, according to Katzeff, generally saw 25% of viewership dropping off after the first minute, which is pretty common. But after that first minute, “Local Flight” videos only saw a 3% drop-off the rest of the way, on average. “When you look at the value of someone engaged for eight minutes instead of a fleeting 30 seconds, this and the Nielsen data shows how huge of an advantage it is.”

The Nielsen data also validates an argument that many online video creators and networks make when pitching ideas to brands — that branded content on the web can work, if it’s done well. “What this data helps validate, at its core, is that if you can tell a great story, if you can be very authentic and organic in how you weave the brand into the story, then the length of the piece of content matters less,” says Katzeff. “If you do that, great results will follow.”

The results were strong enough for Grey Goose to option a second season of “Local Flight,” which is currently in pre-production, says Katzeff.

Overall, the executive says Tastemade’s branded originals program remains healthy. The network has another series in the works with Anheuser-Busch, which will center on “Budweiser and burgers.” Like some of the other series in Tastemade’s slate, this is both food- and travel-centric, as the network will pair with the brand to go around the country and explore burger culture, and how Budweiser as a brand fits into that community.

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