NEW YORK – Google has a deal with fast-food chain Carl’s Jr. to create branded Web content with eight YouTube stars, inching the video site along toward its goal to win more ad dollars.
At the Digitas New Front in New York earlier this week, Google’s Alex Levy, director of branded entertainment, told Beet.TV about the partnership that rolled out this week. Google and YouTube are creating custom content for Carl’s Jr. to distribute across the Google content network and on a newly created brand channel on YouTube, she said.
Google will measure the effectiveness of the campaign according to impressions, time spent, clicks and other data.
“We connect advertisers to content,” Levy said, explaining that Google acts as a matchmaker for sponsors and content online.
The deal was written about earlier this week by Brian Morrissey at Adweek.
Daisy Whitney, Senior Producer
Daisy Whitney: Hey, I'm Daisy Whitney and I am reporting for Beet.TV here at the Digitas New Front and I am with Alex Levy who is the director of branded entertainment at Google. She is actually going to be on my panel later today about branded entertainment. So, very briefly in a nutshell, what is it that you do as the director of branded entertainment?
Alex Levy: So, that's always that question people ask so I'm trying to get it down to one sentence and I'm not sure if I'm successful yet, but let me try. We connect advertisers to content and create meaningful and relevant contextual environments for their brands that are entertaining and engaging.
Daisy Whitney: And then is the goal that the content that you are putting together and the deals that you are putting together is distributed then across the Google content network?
Alex Levy: That's right. So we act as a matchmaker the brands and content and then we push the content out across the Google content network and then we also create a destination typically for it on YouTube.
Daisy Whitney: Okay, so you've got a couple things that you've been working on lately. You have something going on with Carl's Jr. What is that and how does that work?
Alex Levy: Yeah, so that's a new one. We're working with Carl's Jr. They've actually selected eight YouTube stars and they're going to be creating custom content for Carl's specifically and we'll be setting up a brand channel for Carl's Jr. that includes the YouTube stars' content that's custom made for them.
Daisy Whitney: Now that's just taking off. Is it is rolling out this week?
Alex Levy: Yes, it's launching this week and the neat thing is that the brand advertising that supports it will be pushing people back to the destination so that we find all those guys 18 to 34 and fast food enthusiasts and send them back to that destination where they see the YouTube stars.
Daisy Whitney: Now measurement is such an important topic online especially when it comes to advertising and for something as specific as branded content and branded entertainment. But Google is great at measurement; that's what you guys do. How do you measure these types of campaigns and projects?
Alex Levy: Right, that's a good question–the Honey Grail, right? Well, a lot of it is art and a lot of it is science and really I think there's a lot more art this time around because it is about branding; it is about sort of engagement and those more subjective features and qualities of a campaign that you can't necessarily put a number on. We do obviously look at impressions, we look at views, we look at time spent. We look at sort of what was clicked on when and where and why. But there's also just the intangible developing community around the content too.
Daisy Whitney: And what do you know so far about what's resonating with consumers? What type of content and what type of brands that get involved with the content work for the consumers?
Alex Levy: Well, you know we're still testing that and there's a lot of experimentation. I think a lot of it is about offline talent, and it can be offline talent that's behind the camera or in front of the camera. But it's also about the organic YouTube stars, as I mentioned with Carl's Jr. They're leveraging these new people that literally built their names and build equity for themselves on YouTube as a platform. And they obviously wouldn't exist without YouTube. So we're sort of testing whether its new media or whether or not it's offline media that really resonates with the online crowd.
Daisy Whitney: So can you name a few of the YouTube stars?
Alex Levy: So actually we're just finalizing that list right now, so no.
Daisy Whitney: So we will get back to you when that's official and we will let you know. Alex, thank you so much for joining us at Beet.TV and have a great afternoon here.
Alex Levy: Thanks, looking toward the panel.