Viacom said it has formalized the creation of a new ad-sales unit devoted to creating special content for advertisers that can be seen on its cable networks, in digital venues, and, if it's good enough, in news stories and online posts.
The new unit, called Viacom Velocity, takes staffers already devoted to such stuff and merges them with a new creative team. Niels Schuurmans. a former exec veep at Spike TV in charge of consumer marketing, will now oversee the creation of creative content for Viacom-owned networks including MTV, Spike TV, Comedy Central, VH1 and TV Land.
Dario Spina, who supervises the company's existing integrated marketing teams for its music and entertainment networks, will continue to do so as part of Viacom Velocity. Both executives report to Jeff Lucas, head of sales for music and entertainment at Viacom.
As Lucas explained it in an interview, advertiser interest in such stuff "has reached a tipping point, a critical mass." He expects the unit to devise clever video vignettes that fit with the content already on such networks as MTV and Comedy Central and then hopes the video pieces are good enough to be picked up by other media sites and curators. As part of the unveiling of Velocity, Viacom said it would offer clients use of the "Viacom Echo Social Media Network," that would involve "engineering" the appearance of Velocity-created campaigns for advertisers in social-media outlets and in various content.
As an example of what the Velocity unit might do, the Viacom executives pointed to a recent effort done on behalf of the recent Marvel film, "Thor: The Dark World." Actor Tom Hiddleston reprised his role as the rogue Norse god Loki, but portrayed the character as if her were the lead interviewer in a set of popular AT&T spots that feature kids and their goofy responses to analytical questions.
The video, said Spiva, initially ran on Comedy Central as a way for the movie studio to reach young men and drive them toward attending the movie's opening weekend. But they also ended up being featured by BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, YouTube and Entertainment Weekly.