Top Five Agencies in Online Video in 2013
While it’s the Hannah Harts and Phil DeFrancos whose faces gets splashed across articles about online video, there are no shortage of companies working behind the scenes to bring brands and talent together. And some of these agencies are developing truly innovative content (and approaches to content), which continue legitimizing the web series space.
No one ever went wrong betting on the youth of America to watch stuff on the internet, which has been a major part of what drives Alloy Digital (now known as Defy Media) content; this is also why GroupM’s move to fund two original series aimed at the 12-34 youth demographic was a smart move. Both are reality shows — the unscripted high school reunion romp “Encore,” and the second season of “Chasing,” a music-themed “Amazing Race” that, in its first season, featured DJ Steve Aoki.
GroupM is also behind a series you’d be more likely to find on Bravo than The CW — SpinMedia is building a show featuring stylist Johnny Wujek (as seen on “America’s Next Top Model”) traveling around the country to solve fashion emergencies. It’s not highbrow content, but it’s the sort of show that does get watched. GroupM is funding content that does have an audience — the audience just needs to find it.
4. Ogilvy & Mather
The Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” videos, featuring women describing themselves to a forensic sketch artist and discovering that their self-images are way off, inspired a huge amount of discussion when they premiered last April. And while some of that discussion was a critique of the concept (and actively challenging it with science), it paid off in massive views for the Dove brand. Because inspiring controversy is a solid way to become the most viral ad of all time, which is, after all, the point.
3. CAA Marketing
Chipotle, the Mexican not-quite-fast-food chain, underwrote a combination of app and video that made headlines this September — it even got written up by the New Yorker. “The Scarecrow”‘s message, across both platforms, was clear — celebration of the company’s use of sustainable, earth-friendly food products in its burrito bowls. But with beautiful animation and the introductory video featuring a haunting use of Fiona Apple’s cover of “Use Your Imagination,” it became a project with real artistic merit — for which CAA’s marketing department should take a bow.
2. Pereira & O’Dell
Just selected as an A-list agency by both Ad Age and Creativity, Pereira & O’Dell proved they were worthy of the title with the visually striking, cleverly-written “The Power Inside,” which melded alien invasion hijinks with audience participation; viewers were invited to “join the fight” or audition for a role as an alien. (Looking at the gallery of images, auditioning to be an alien looks like the more fun option.)
In many ways, “The Power Inside” redefined the template for a branded web series. Look beyond the fact that the series starred Hollywood legend Harvey Keitel, and you’ll find a clever narrative that also managed to organically find ways to integrate Intel & Toshiba products. This is because, at the end of the day, “The Power Inside” is a great story first, and everything else is done to support the telling of that story.
Measurement and analytics are a key part of the business, which is why DigitasLBi’s summer move to partner up with Outrigger Media to identify emerging YouTubers was smart*. By catching them on the rise, Digitas will have an edge on new talent.
Another notable project was a show with a whole bunch of brands attached — in partnership with The Onion, DigitasLBi brought about the series “Tough Season.” Premiering right at the beginning of this NFL season (and thus the beginning of this year’s fantasy football season), “Tough Season” proved to be a mockumentary version of the FX series “The League” — but with The Onion’s sensibility, and promotion for tech company Lenovo’s NFL fantasy football contest. It lacked the edge of other Onion video content, but for a branded series it found its footing almost immediately.
* DigitasLBi’s partnership with Outrigger Media has also benefitted us at VideoInk via our partnership to produce weekly emerging talent lists for YouTubers.Tags: Agencies, Alloy Digital, branded entertainment, CAA, CAA Marketing, chipotle, Defy Media, digitaslbi, GroupM, Intel, lists, NFL, Ogilvy & Mather, Pereira O'Dell, Special Issue, The Onion, Toshiba, Video Advertising, Year End Issue