May 18, 2021

By Nicole Bitette
The ViacomCBS ad sales organization is utilizing its portfolio’s reach and talent to get partners in front of the right audience.

Tap into the power of ViacomCBS’ iconic programming, and you’ll be able to reach a wide target audience across platforms, especially social media. The highest-performing ad campaigns from the last year have paired recognizable and complementary brands—from kid stars and macaroni and cheese to reality TV and soda—to unlock the company’s cross-portfolio power.

Most recently, the Pepsi Mango campaign saw ViacomCBS playing matchmaker in a five-episode dating reality series titled “Match Me If You Can,” airing on MTV’s YouTube channel. The series also premiered on linear, during the season finale of the most recent season of The Challenge. Prior to the campaign’s finale on May 19th, the first four episodes will also be added to Pluto TV.

“Brands are looking for trust,” says Kerry Mysliwiec, director, Partner Solutions, who helped spearhead the Paw Patrol/Kraft campaign. “The advertising landscape is really fragmented, and brands know that our audiences trust us and believe in our content.”

 

An “Avengers-like Team of Daters”

The Pepsi Mango beverage is both “delicious and surprising,” according to Bari Zibrak, VP, integrated marketing, Velocity pitch. Zibrak and the team from Velocity, ViacomCBS’ branded content studio, decided that whatever they came up with would have to be surprising too.

To take the campaign to a level above anything they’ve done before, they worked to create a digital matchmaking series that celebrated surprising pairings. “We assembled this Avengers-like team of daters,” says Zibrak.

Some of the talent on the series included Ashley Brooke Mitchell (The Real World), Eric Bigger (The Bachelorette), Harry Jowsey (Too Hot To Handle), Onyeka Ehie (The Bachelor), Natalie Negrotti (Big Brother), Kyra Green (Love Island USA), Joey Sasso (The Circle) and Kylie Smith (Are You The One?). The mix of reality stars marked the first-ever campaign to leverage both Legacy Viacom and CBS talent together, says Zibrak. The team also made sure that the talent was diverse in terms of both race and sexual orientation, as it would be airing on MTV’s channels and that’s a key element to the network’s dating shows.

“The main premise of this is: ‘What if your favorite reality dating stars were just cast on the wrong show?’” explains Cristina Evans, VP, integrated marketing, Velocity activation. “What if we were able to give them another chance to find love? We’ve seen such success with this because we are playing into the fandom of these reality stars, bringing them all together in a surprising way.”

"It feels really good to know that we created something that is being viewed as entertainment and not just a commercial."

Well-known from their previous TV stints, many of the contestants have a significant social media following, which Velocity has used to their advantage. After the episodes aired, the talent would take to Instagram Stories to answer questions from the fans and continue to build excitement around the episodes. Fans have even asked for more episodes in the comments, according to Evans.

“It feels really good to know that we created something that is being viewed as entertainment and not just a commercial,” says Evans.

The Power of Portfolio

In another utilization of ViacomCBS’ cross-portfolio power, the ViacomCBS ad sales team promoted Kraft Mac & Cheese’s existing license with PAW Patrol, Nickelodeon’s globally beloved preschool series, produced by Spin Master, through a branded content series featuring influencer talent that lived on Nick Jr’s YouTube channel.

"THERE’S AN APPETITE AT VIACOMCBS TO DO THINGS THAT WE'VE NEVER DONE BEFORE."

Mysliwiec, along with Dan Sykora, Account Director, ViacomCBS Digital, proposed the multi-episode content series featuring PAW Patrol-themed activities to drive brand love and purchase intent for Kraft Mac & Cheese while also inspiring parents to make mealtime an opportunity for both learning and play.

Mysliwiec and Sykora also leveraged insights from the Nick Jr. YouTube team to inform the content development strategy for the Kraft Mac & Cheese content series to ensure it would resonate with the Nick Jr. YouTube channel’s large subscriber base.

Sykora and his team attribute the campaign’s success to utilizing multiple platforms, creating content that is purposeful, and focusing on the long-term relationship with clients, rather than the one-time goal.

“ViacomCBS has so many ways that we can help enhance the marketer’s initiatives. It’s key that we have the ability to understand and identify what platforms and what opportunities we have to offer, to make sure that we’re holistically enhancing their business,” Sykora says.

“There’s an appetite at ViacomCBS to do things that we’ve never done before,” adds Sykora. “If there’s anything that I’ve seen as a result of this pandemic, it’s this need to move quickly and to not be afraid to break new ground. And I think that ViacomCBS does a great job of that.”

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