This year marked Collective Digital Studio’s first time at the Newfronts rodeo, so it’s no surprise that they pulled out all the stops. Collective brought in an army of top talent to impress the advertisers and journalists assembled at the SVA Theater in Chelsea for the company’s first every Newfront presentation. After kicking off the event with a surprise performance by the flashmob masterminds of Improv Everywhere, Collective turned the proceedings over to Rhett and Link, who gave the crowd a hard sell on Collective’s growing roster of talent and programming in between jokes.
The slogan for Collective’s Newfront was “content is everything” and that sentiment infused the presentation. As MCNs go, Collective is a unique beast. With around 1,000 channels in its network, it doesn’t rely on the massive aggregation of talent and revenue the way some other networks might. At its Newfront, CDS focused on its ability to create premium, highly shareable content using its stable of highly recognizable creators, and for emphasis it had many of those creators on hand to remind the audience of just exactly what they can do.
Epic Tool Time: First on the docket was Epic Meal Time. Harley Morenstein and company have been a jewel in Collective’s crown and this year their YouTube presence is set to expand in a big way. Harley has done just about every insane food related stunt imaginable, but in 2015 he’ll be leaving the kitchen behind for the work shop with Epic Tool Time, a tool and craftstmanship focused series in the style of EMT.
Rhett and Link ReThink: In between hosting duties Rhett and Link introduced a new addition to their Good Mythical Morning series with Rhett and Link ReThink. The segment will feature Rhett and Link taking on some of our most taken-for-granted customs and turning them upside down and inside out. For example, why at birthday parties are children encouraged to assualt a papier mâché animal with a baseball bat?
Fake Company Incorporated: After opening the show with a demonstration of their signature style of unexpected improv, Improv Everywhere founder Charlie Todd introduced Fake Company Incorporated, a new series in which improvisers from IE play elaborate day long pranks on temp workers in a fake office. Examples include a day in which a temp shows up and through a series of mishaps winds up promoted to CEO by close of business, and another in which a new hire is introduced to fellow employees who keep getting successively younger, ultimately ending up in a meeting with a baby CEO.
Shaycation: Pretty Little Liars star and Collective partner Shay Mitchell will launch a travel series in which she explores glamorous and exotic locales while giving viewers a first person view.
Wendy’s Lookbook: Fashion guru Wendy Nguyen give her fashion coverage a unique spin by digging into the science and history behind style. Viewers will get a first hand look at the history of the dress and just what’s inside a pair of $100 Loboutin heels when Wendy and her team saw them in half.
Prank Week: Collective’s roster boasts some of the most high profile pranksters on YouTube. Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, Dennis Roady, and Roman Atwood will team up for a week worth of over the top pranks.
Insomniac: Stepping outside more traditionally YouTube based partners Collective announced a partnership with Insomniac, the organizers of nationwide EDM festival Electric Daisy Carnival. Collective already boasts major EDM channels like UKF as part of its network and the partnership with EDC will allow the network to distribute more millennial friendly electronic dance music content.
In addition to all the new programming, CDS had plenty of other talent on hand to demonstrate to advertisers the power of YouTube stars. Beauty gurus Wendy Nguyen, Alexa Losey and Meredith Foster participated in a Q&A session aimed at touting their ability to sell brands to their trusting fans. Vine stars Matt Espinoza, Logan Paul, Rudy Mancuso and Princess Lauren along with Snapchat pioneer Shonduras were on hand to share the results of a shared social media campaign. Combined the influencers were able to trend #waterballoonfight and produce millions of views, loops, and shares in under 24 hours.
Collective’s slate of content for next year is impressive, but their Newfront was as much about introducing the power of influencer driven marketing, a concept that many advertisers still aren’t fully aware of. Presumably Collective’s combined star power opened a few eyes.
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