YouTube stars come out for Garnier and others in branded video channels.
Garnier Fructis Pure Green launched its sponsorship of YouTube's LiveGreen Channel in April in time for Earth Day. And though the brand plans only to continue the sponsorship through the summer, content produced for the channel that incorporates Garnier will live on. It's a key reason why the hair care brand and sister labels including Maybelline are keen on branded content.
The channel sponsorship offering also gives YouTube a way to capture brand dollars while helping its popular video celebs connect with sponsors.
The LiveGreen channel includes an array of videos in the home and beauty categories, in addition to a section curated by Garnier. Included therein are four videos from eco-beauty guru and YouTube celeb Zem Joaquin, who worked with Garnier to create four videos with appropriate themes for the channel, such as "How to Green Your Beauty Routine."
Like other spots produced in conjunction with Garnier, the video does not involve product placement per se. Rather, the video is "Brought to you by" the brand, and at one point Garnier Pure Clean products are pictured in an overlay image, though Joaquin does not actually interact with them.
"I like my packaging to be more than just a pretty face," she says in a voiceover, as a closeup shot of the shampoo and conditioner appear on screen. "So look for smart initiatives that back up that stylish fun, like bottles made with post-consumer plastic." As Joaquin talks, the viewer sees text stating that the product's "bottles are made from 50% post-consumer recycled plastics."
A lot of media partners tend to "want to figure out what type of integration they can leverage," said Kristen Yraola, assistant VP of digital marketing and media for Maybelline/Garnier/Essie. Yraola said she started working on branded content related projects four years ago, and gets "a lot of requests from other partners." But only select media outlets get the business, including YouTube and ABC. "There's only so many how-to makeup and hairstyling videos one can create," she said.
This was the second time Garnier worked with a YouTube star. The brand put one of its men's hair care products in the hands of MysteryGuitarMan for a previous effort. In his case, the zany music maker did actually use the product.
"We don't necessarily see them as a spokesperson," said Yraola, explaining that when choosing a content collaborator, the goal is for the person "to represent the ideals of the brand." When partnering with content creators, brands usually brief YouTube on their goals for the project and what characteristics they're looking for in a video star. YouTube is not involved with the payment of the content producers, a YouTube spokesperson said.
Maybelline, part of the beauty brand conglomerate, also currently sponsors the LiveRunway channel on YouTube, a collection of videos associated with Fashion Week. The company has chosen to partner with YouTube on these branded channel initiatives, explained Yraola, because of the reach the popular video destination provides. "These are brands sold in the mass market," she said.
Once the five-month Garnier sponsorship ends, YouTube "will take it back out to the marketplace," said Lee Hadlow, program manager for YouTube's marketing team. For instance, Frito-Lay's SunChips sponsored the LiveGreen channel around last year's Earth Day. When there isn't an active sponsor, she said, the channels are taken down.
Several channels are in the works now. For instance, the annual Holiday Solutions Center, a collection of food, crafts, and other holiday-related videos that was sponsored by Target last year, is being prepared for launch around November.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
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