FORGET MAKING ADS. WE’VE MADE A REALITY SHOW TO SELL BRAND PARTNERSHIPS.

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In a fragmented media world, we’re experimenting with a new model – creating an agency owned Entertainment IP that can be monetised through brand partnerships, is this the new frontier? Asks Jet Wong, Strategy Director at BBH Shanghai

Gen Z, or more accurately, the ‘Post-95’ generation, have the fastest growing spending power in China.

They are also immersed in a world of online entertainment. Those born after 1995 spend 1.8 times more with video and social media compared to older generations, as well as creating twice as many live broadcasts per month.

At the center of this fragmented media landscape is the video streaming platform Tencent (the $500bn Chinese tech firm you may never have heard of), which is best summed up in the idea of ‘pan-entertainment,’ a multi-dimensional experience forged from a range of different IP, involving brands, characters, stories, all played out on multiple levels and an endless (and growing) number of streams.

We saw an opportunity to create an agency owned Entertainment IP, that by passes traditional media, to create an audience that we will eventually monetize through brand partnerships. We just needed an idea;

In a society that still advocates the ‘Chinese Dream’—achievement, collective effort, national glory—having big dreams yourself can seem a little, well, exhausting. We found out that for young people in particular, making life plans and setting goals on a day-to-day basis can feel out of reach. Compared to those big dreams, the little fantasies of everyday life—we call them daydreams—are way more interesting.

We worked with the producers behind the Voice of China to create a new entertainment company called Black Sheep On Fire to capture the attention of a new generation of dreamers.

In order to engage them, we needed a new way to tell the story, mini-entertainment and bitesize content that’s more authentic, more snackable, and most importantly, entertaining.

By understanding the cultural insight and media consumption behavior, we launched Meet the Daydreamers, a reality show that exposes the daily fantasies of our Post-95 dreamers. Without limits or boundaries, we provided a platform for young people to share their daydreams, and we encouraged them to make them happen in the show—fantasies they never dared speak about or even thought of realising. Each episode features one daydreamer, who with help and guidance from the crew was able to realise their daydream. At the end, the daydreamer explains to the audience their experience and emotions at seeing their daydreams come true.

In those twelve episodes, we realised twelve daydreams. We helped a tone deaf girl to stage a live concert. We gave her vocal coaching and hooked her up with performance coach Ye Binghuan from ‘Voice of China’ Season 2—for sure he made her a superstar for a day. We also turned a young man into a CEO for 24 hours. Until he bankrupted his company. We even had a couple who swapped their bodies for a day.

In just 10 weeks the show amassed eleven million views, making it the most viewed non-celebrity programme on Tencent Video.

Tencent even selected Black Sheep On Fire as one of their top six content production partners in China.

Season 2 comes with a huge upgrade: celebrities, influencers and mentors are set to create massive awareness and opportunities for brand partnerships. Stay tuned!

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