UKTV is making a move into branded-content for its latest original commission.
The commercial network, a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, has teamed up with fashion-watch brand G-SHOCK (via branded content agency The Story Lab) for The Unbreakables, a 12 parter which is being hailed as UKTV’s first ever branded-content TV commission. The series will air on Dave later this year.
Described by UKTV’s Commissioning Editor Iain Coyle as “the perfect combination of humour and action”, The Unbreakables is presented by Tim Warwood and Adam Gendle and each episode sees the duo dropped in different locations around Britain, where they have to take inspiration from their surroundings and dream up epic stunts that seem impossible. With only one week to build and test their creations, they must also convince an athlete from the world of action sports to take on their daring challenge.
A key aspect of the show will be the creation of short-form content that can be distributed on a myriad of social media platforms including Vine, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Content will start appearing on said platforms three months before the series airs on Dave in an attempt to engage grass roots influencers, test the content and feed audience reaction into the edit. It is hoped that the digital strategy will build audience anticipation (and thus ratings) and allow viewers to feel part of an unfolding story.
Factory Media is producing the 12 episode series, which was commissioned by UKTV’s Commissioning Editor Iain Coyle and ordered by Dave’s General Manager Steve North. The commercial partnership was brokered by UKTV’s Director of Commercial Partnerships Sally Quick and Factory Media’s Director of Content Dee Smith. Factory Media will retain all international rights to The Unbreakables.
This original commission underpins UKTV’s openness to forging key commercial partnerships for original commissions. Arguably, the broadcaster has been at the forefront of this, seeing possibilities for such partnerships while others (notably ITV and Channel 5) have shied away from AFP. The deal for The Unbreakables, which follows this week’s commission for another AFP series on Good Food, is said to be “built on an innovative content-funding model” that aims to deliver maximum added value to the brand, broadcaster and agency.
“The deal was borne out of a desire for a clip based, high-octane action sports show on Dave that had a witty tone”, said UKTV’s Director of Commercial Partnerships Sally Quick. “At UKTV the commercial partnerships team sits within commissioning which enables us to be extremely proactive and seek out projects and brands that exactly match the needs of our channels.”
“These deals are complex and I wanted an “everybody wins” model – where all participants – brands, broadcasters, agencies and audiences naturally add value to each other. The brand gets clarity of message, huge impact in the TV environment as well as the highly targeted ROI associated with good digital advertising”, commented Dee Smith, Director of Content at Factory Media. “The broadcaster gets high quality programming, along with real time engagement figures, full editorial control and marketing for the show. The agency gets a full service partner and our wealth of experience keeping everybody happy. The art is in balancing the often different but overlapping needs of broadcaster and brand. And Factory fans get truly great content.”
While G-SHOCK’s Senior Marketing Manager Jennifer Kelly added: “The G-SHOCK brand philosophy is about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. We like to challenge ourselves to be unconventional, sometimes edgy but always, tough! This, combined with the fact that our heritage is rooted in action sports, made The Unbreakables project an obvious choice for us. We were instantly drawn to the opportunity due to the multi-channel nature of the campaign. The 360 approach allows us to talk directly to our classic audience through digital and social channels, whilst driving significant brand awareness via broadcast. We’re ramping up for a seriously successful Christmas season as a result.’