Starbucks widens distribution for season 2 of short film series
- Starbucks announced a second season of its short film series "Upstanders" that will feature 11 real-life stories of Americans' acts of humanity, according to Mashable. Viewers can stream the documentary on Amazon Prime Video, on Facebook Watch — making it the social platform's first content from a non-media brand — and in the Starbucks app. Audible will also turn the content into a free audiobook.
- Season one launched on the quick-service restaurant's app in September 2016 ahead of the presidential election and reached more than 60 million people. With the added platforms, Starbucks executive chairman and former CEO Howard Schultz expects season two to reach nearly 100 million viewers, Mashable reported.
- Meanwhile, the Starbucks Foundation announced the "Upstanders Challenge" alongside the documentary, where consumers can submit a short video about their favorite charity and share it on social media. The foundation will then grant $25,000 to 25 of the nonprofits submitted.
Video storytelling from brands has become a popular content marketing tactic for entertaining audiences while still building brand awareness, particularly when it includes a socially conscious element like Starbucks' latest effort to highlight "ordinary people doing extraordinary things." The Upstanders series isn't the QSR's first foray into the format. Last December it released an animated series, "1st & Main," created with three Simpsons writers that brought to life common moments that happen in Starbucks locations. Upstanders is a different approach from that effort in that there is no Starbucks branding or product placement in the videos, Schultz told Mashable.
Another thing that sets Upstanders Season 2 apart among other examples of video storytelling from brands is the number of platforms where the content will appear, likely positioning the documentary to reach a large viewer base.
Upstanders is just the latest example of a major brand diving into the creative side of content marketing. Other companies like Marriott have seen solid success producing similar branded web series — the hotel chain's Two Bellmen videos are so popular they even generate their own revenues.