- Lifestyle brand Gant and Craig Ferguson, former host of "The Late Late Show," have teamed up for a six-episode YouTube show called “Couple Thinkers" that stars Ferguson and his wife, Megan, per a press release made available to Marketing Dive. The show chronicles the couple as they travel around the world interviewing experts in various fields such as Arianna Huffington and Neil deGrasse Tyson to explore topics they are interested in. The premise of the show comes from Gant’s corporate philosophy of “never stop learning."
- Couple Thinkers will debut on YouTube on Oct. 9, and will air in 70 countries. YouTube was chosen by Gant as the most democratic channel where “consumers can ride the wave of accessible learning” per the press release.
- The show will be supported by images, GIFs, pre-roll ads and video on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and more, according to Business Insider. The effort was developed by Gant's in-house marketing team in collaboration with Zodiak Factory & Mastiff, part of the Banijay Group.
Couple Thinkers is the latest example of a brand turning to the entertainment industry for content marketing instead of a more heavily-branded approach. In a way, the concept behind Couple Thinkers harkens back to the earliest days of TV where brands would sponsor shows instead of having interruptive ads. The difference now, of course, is brands like Gant are simply producing the shows they want to sponsor using top-shelf talent instead of paying sponsorship fees to studios creating the shows. The stars of the show wear Gant clothing but other than this, there is no overt branding in the episodes, per Business Insider.
For brands like Gant, developing standalone entertainment offers the potential to break through the clutter without disrupting the consumer experience and building word of mouth as well as brand awareness. "We wanted to create content that will have a life of its own, earn awareness and not be dependent only on media spend," Eleonore Sall, Gant's global marketing director, told Business Insider.
The advent of digital video platforms for distribution coupled with the growth of cord cutting has made it possible for brands to become de facto content producers and distributors, allowing then to cover the entire spectrum from offering up the entertainment they want to sponsor, and own the entire process and product.
Visit Seattle is taking a similar tack with a video mini-series called The Emerald Race hosted by a participant from "The Bachelor" with a premise taken from another reality show, "The Amazing Race," and featuring participants from that show as well.