- Courtyard by Marriott is taking viewers behind the scenes of the world of professional football with a new docu-series called "Courtyard: Unstoppable," debuting today (June 26) on the brand's website and on Facebook Watch, per news provided exclusively to Marketing Dive.
- The effort, which will run 12 episodes, is an extension of the hotel brand's "Passion Moves Us Forward" platform and "Courtyard Camera" content series. It was created with Marriott Content Studio and Whistle Sports. Each episode follows individuals pursing their football passions and offers a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who make the game possible, on season and off.
- The first episode, titled "Player Turned Agent," features Damarius Bilbo, who opened Revolution Sports Management to represent some of the top NFL talent following his own NFL career. The episode was directed by the Emmy-nominated Jessica M. Thompson.
With "Courtyard: Unstoppable," Marriott is continuing to build out a focus on original video content that closely mirrors the type of programming that would run on TV or streaming services, in this case a sports network like ESPN. The brand launching the show on Facebook Watch shows that marketers are still interested in the social network's hub for premium video content despite some of its struggles to engage users since rolling out last August. Followers of the show can add it to their Facebook Watchlist to receive notifications when new episodes go live, which might help Courtyard by Marriott build out an engaged and active viewership.
Courtyard's parent company Marriott has seen prior success with efforts produced through the Marriott Content Studio, and sports media — particularly NFL-related content — remain a strong draw for U.S. audiences and a driver of revenue. Other marketers have recently created docu-series that offer a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of athletes and influencers in a given field. Procter & Gamble's Head & Shoulders followed U.S. freeskier Gus Kenworthy, widely seen the first openly gay action sports athlete, with a digital content series around the Olympics that depicted his obstacles and personal journey coming out.
As more markers continue to invest in such digital video efforts, more are experimenting with different styles and video lengths, including through less traditional advertising formats like documentaries. Marriott has also created long-form, scripted content with its "Two Bellmen" series of videos that parody Hollywood blockbusters, which have become popular enough to be their own driver of revenue for the brand.
Viewership of brands' original digital video content increased 60% from 45 million in 2013 to 72 million in 2018, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Viewers of this content tend to be younger, more diverse and tech savvy, the trade group found.