BuzzFeed, provider of highly integrated and branded content for sponsors, kicked off a four-month campaign this week with Rdio, a streaming music service. Rdio has taken over BuzzFeed's music vertical with a multi-story ad unit running on the right side of the front page of the music vertical, as well as alongside all stories in that vertical. The ad unit highlights custom content produced by BuzzFeed staff, such as "16 Songs about the Friend Zone."
During the promotion, site visitors will be able to react to stories by choosing a music track from a rotating selection curated by BuzzFeed editors to relate to that story. BuzzFeed stories regularly include reaction buttons, letting users tag them with comments like "lol." Hovering over a new Rdio button at the end of the comment tags brings up the selected playlist. Users can stream the songs from within the popup or search for songs they think relate to the content.
"People have been reacting and sharing content for five or six years on BuzzFeed," noted Jon Steinberg, president and COO of BuzzFeed. "We suddenly rolled out music as a way to say how you feel."
BuzzFeed worked directly with Rdio and its media agency, Horizon, to create the campaign. "Rdio approached us looking for innovative big ideas. The client knew how everything was shared using reaction buttons, and everyone immediately liked the idea," said Steinberg.
Rdio provides APIs to its database and streaming music servers. The BuzzFeed reaction servers simply connect to the Rdio music servers to enable the musical reactions. Steinberg said the campaign, from concept to integration, took only a few weeks.
Steinberg said it was too early to share metrics from the campaign, but said it could provide a blueprint for providing video reactions if an appropriate client turned up. However, he added, "We're a way off from smell-o-vision."
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
March 19, 2014