One noted rock band is at the heart of a new type of brand-funded content. OK Go, the band behind numerous online viral video successes, is using its online notoriety to work with global electronics company Samsung.
“The new primetime is daytime,” Omelet partner/CCO Steven Amato told the audience at a Digital Hollywood panel called “Advertising Sucks. Make Entertainment.” Omelet creates original online video content, sometimes for brands seeking an alternative to traditional advertising. His company also put together “Brainstorm,” a mobile and web series for Fox Mobile that incorporates the Altoids brand of breath mints, and a campaign for the release of Eminem’s album “Relapse.”
With OK Go, Omelet also put together video programming that shows the partnership the band and Samsung’s NX100 digital camera. The four behind-the-scenes episodes will show the band creating a video using the camera. It’s an approach that is far more integrated that mere product placement.
OK Go, pioneers in using online video, was an obvious musical act to get for the series, Amato said. “Their music is marketing for their videos,” he said. Amato correctly noted the band doesn’t make much money from its recorded music sales. Sales have been modest, and the band parted ways with Capitol Records earlier this year.
The band is wise to forego the traditional paths to success. It has long looked to the Internet as a workaround for its lack of radio play. Its videos gather 10 of millions of views but generate little record sales. They won’t show up on sales charts and can’t fund big marketing campaigns. But instead of using video to fuel sales, OK Go uses video to open up other opportunities.
The question is if OK Go will be the exception to the rule. Many artists partner with brands, but the standard model is to raise your profile through traditional channels and in partnership with a record label. For those artists who can completely re-think what they are selling and how to promote themselves, these types of opportunities will be available. Brands will continue to need to sell things, Amato said, and people will continue to want to be entertained.