The next generation of branded content. And it dances
Dancing is the new cool. Ballroom dancing, street dance, tap, tango and ballet - doesn't matter what it is, but right now dancing is where it's at - you only have to look at the explosion of dance themed TV shows and movies that have surfaced in the last few years. So it was only a matter of time before brands popped on their dancing shoes and cut a few shapes on the dance floor.
The States have had the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers (LXD) for a while - and I have to admit, when the press release arrived in my inbox I was a little sceptical. LXD was described to me as "Heroes" meets "Step Up" - and frankly after 12 years in PR and journalism, I was too cynical to give it the time of day.
However, sometimes I am proven wrong. At the end of the day I was the guy who said Facebook would never take off, so I decided to give LXD a shot and head along to the premier screening at BAFTA last night.
I don't want to give too much away at this point, apart from to say the description of "Heroes meets Step Up" is about as accurate a description as anyone having seen LXD is ever likely to give. More importantly for Cream is what the LXD series represents in what is possible in the realms of branded content.
In terms of production values, this is a significant step forward for the BC medium. Other brands have produced slick movie-style works before - remember that BMW movie with Madonna? Or (my personal favourite bit of BC ever) the Mercedes thriller with Dannii Minogue? More recently, Cream reported on a stunning piece of work from Ararat cognac, but these were all "adult brands" aimed at the higher end of the market. The production budget for LXD must have been huge, and every single penny has been put on screen.
The series is soon to be launched in the UK and Europe acoss the Joost network by Adconion, so soon fans will be able to enjoy the series of 10-minute episodes and track the story of the dancers as they begin their quest. Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous, and yesterday morning I would have agreed with you!
Of course it remains to be seen if an online video series (there are 10 episodes in the first series) can not only sustain interest for the complete individual episodes, but also if it can continue to keep it's audience interested over the duration of the series. Current completion stats from the US suggest that it stands a good chance. Paramount (who make the show) have finished the second series already, and a third is in the planning stages.
Cream will be covering more of this exciting project, and the implications for the brands involved very soon. In the meantime, there's more interesting examples of online video (here) and branded content (here) on the Cream site.