Reebok Crafts Hip-Hop VOD Sponsorship

Reebok is building on its early experimentation with VOD, weaving its brand and exclusive content throughout the new DoD (for “Def on Demand”) hip-hop VOD channel that debuts on Comcast Friday.

The new channel, a subsidiary of hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons’ Simmons Latham Media Group, opens with about 10 hours of on-demand programming targeted to an urban audience. Besides Reebok, launch sponsors include Coca-Cola and General Motors. Reebok has committed to a one-year deal with DoD, which will be available to 8.5 million households.

“This goes way beyond inserting :30 spots in programming,” said Robert Aksman, director of creative development at BrightLine Partners, the iTV agency that developed the ads for Reebok.

Reebok will have its brand mentioned by interactive VJs, who introduce various segments on the on-demand channel. Its RBK brand, and brand messaging, will appear in overlays and tickers as video plays.

The company has also developed three- to 10-minute clips of original programming featuring RBK celebrities Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Allen Iverson. The content will appear on the channel and be promoted in other placements. RBK programs will include behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the personalities on the sets of their RBK ad shoots. An interview featuring both 50 Cent and Tony Yayo of G Unit will also appear.

“All of it fits with the ‘I am what I am’ brand messaging,” said Aksman, referring to the RBK integrated campaign.

Aksman wouldn’t talk about the financial details of the sponsorship but said Reebok paid for a package of a guaranteed number of impressions. The company will monitor how users interact with the content and is considering doing brand research, as well.

The sponsorship follows Reebok’s earlier test of VOD, a four month-long effort in which content featuring Allen Iverson appeared on Comcast in the Philadelphia market. Aksman said the footage was the most viewed content on Comcast’s VOD service during the time it was available.

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