Product Placement vs Parody

Last weekend, Saturday Night Live had a fun sketch centered around Farrow & Ball paint.  They poked fun at an old British paint brand (that actually exists, who knew?!), the cost for said paint, and how its purchase would inspire someone to emphasize the U in colour and labour. It was one of the sillier - and more memorable - sketches of the episode.

While it was a parody of a hoity-toity British paint brand, it also was essentially a four minute commercial for Farrow & Ball.  Their traffic and social media got a spike of attention.  Apparently they were unaware of the sketch in advance, and didn't control the messaging.  But they also wouldn't have been able to purchase a four minute informercial in the middle of SNL either.

A few years ago, SNL made headlines for some pieces of branded content they were commissioned (i.e. paid) to integrate into the show.  We're so conditioned these days to stroll along the fine line between organic and paid content that we doesn't seem to bat an eye when we're being marketed to when watching a piece of quality content.  Nevertheless, it seems that a more impactful piece of content that involves a brand is best when the creators create it without any input or investment from the brand itself.  The brand just needs to be cool with it, and the creator's platform (in this case NBC/SNL) needs to be large enough for it to have resonance.

What do you think - is product placement actually product placement if the brand has nothing to do with it?  Would you allow your brand to be parodied if it brought it attention?


Friend or Follower?

With today's emphasis on social media and our digital lifestyles, it's no wonder that a backlash of sorts has started to bubble up.

Check out this new campaign from Miller Lite, the premise of which is "going dark" on social media, with an emphasis on ditching our phones to hang out with friends in person instead.  With a Miller Lite in hand, of course.

You can watch the kickoff video HERE.

As they say in their blog post, "Miller Time is the perfect antidote to a life spent online...a few friends are better than a few thousand followers."

We're all for this sentiment.  While social media and our reliance on our phones is not going anywhere, we feel that going analog and making human connections is good for the soul.  One can only hope that the next phase of the Miller Lite campaign is to revamp their commercials from the 80s.  Someone get Bob Uecker and John Madden on the phone!  They probably won't respond to a DM...


New Digital Series! Check Out The End Of The Beginning

We are proud to share our new series!  Produced in conjunction with Samsung NEXT, "The End Of The Beginning" is a digital editorial series that explores the future of AI and Machine Learning. We're really happy with how it turned out.

The series airs exclusively on Vox; check out the first episode HERE!

 


Weekend Read: The Real Difference Between Creators and Influencers

Welcome back to #VIMBY Weekend Read!  It's hard to imagine, but while the terms creator and influencer seem like they've been around forever, in fact they are relatively young, in modern parlance.  An article published today in the Atlantic traces their usage, identifies the differences, and takes a look at where all of this social media creation/influence/monetization stuff is headed.

The Real Difference Between Creators and Influencers

We work with creators and influencers a bit differently than the average agency or production company.  They inspire us everyday.


Check Her Out: Lizzo

Minneapolis rapper/singer Lizzo has emerged as one of the boldest, most compelling voices in popular music.  It feels like she came out of nowhere, but of course that is actually not the case.  You know that (somewhat annoying) friend of yours who is always claiming that they were a fan of [artist X] before their first album, blahblahblah...well we gotta say, we were a fan of Lizzo's before her first album.  A few years ago we produced one of our favorite projects with MTV.  Entitled This Is The Place, it was a digital series that celebrated local music, fashion, food, and culture in a variety of cities. Our local producers had a hand in recommending places to go, artists to listen to, etc and that was when Lizzo first arrived on our radar, as a member of The Chalice.

You can check out the full video HERE.  Bump her new album, Cuz I Love You on Spotify.  Perfect music to enjoy this weekend while we enjoy some beautiful springtime weather.

 


RIP Nipsey Hussle

Hip Hop MC Nipsey Hussle was tragically murdered on Sunday, outside of a clothing store he owned in Los Angeles.  While a large part of the media attention has focused on his music career, his philanthropy and advocacy for black business ownership has also received a fair amount of attention.

VIMBY has spent the majority of its time for the last decade + working with brands and helping them tell their stories for a digital audience, but we began as a platform of original content celebrating youth culture.  Way back in 2009 we profiled Nipsey when he was an emerging LA rapper, just starting to hit the national scene.  There are a few things that make this old video fascinating to watch now - the non-HDness of it, the retro look of pro tools in the studio, low fi graphics etc.  But what makes it worth watching is how it captures a young artist who set out to establish himself ten years ago as someone who wanted to redefine what it meant to be a young black entertainer in the inner city - it wasn't just about dropping a dope rhyme (though he dropped many); it was about owning your own business, being your own boss, and championing your hometown while staying true to who you are.  While Nipsey Hussle's life was sadly cut short, his music - and his model for independent entrepreneurship - live on.

 


Weekend Read: FREE THROWS SHOULD BE EASY. WHY DO BASKETBALL PLAYERS MISS?

Welcome to VIMBY's Weekend Read, where we share interesting content you can enjoy in your PJs Sunday morning.

As we enjoy this weekend's slate of March Madness games, where some of us picked Texas Tech and Virginia to be in the final four which vaulted us in first place in the VIMBY pool, we decided to geek out on free throw form and science with this interesting article and video from Wired:

FREE THROWS SHOULD BE EASY. WHY DO BASKETBALL PLAYERS MISS?

Check it out, and enjoy the games!


Weekend Read - Fast Company: Lexus Made a 60,000-Hour Documentary (that it knows you won’t watch)

Welcome back to VIMBY's Weekend Read!

Step 1: Read this article in your PJs over the weekend.

Step 2: Look smarter around the water cooler on Monday.

Weekend Read - Fast Company: Lexus made a 60,000-hour documentary (that it knows you won’t watch)

What would you watch for 60,000 hours on a loop?  Over here we are leaning towards either our Netflix queue, or bulldogs riding skateboards.


Filmmaker Friday! Meet Garrick Lane

Welcome back to Filmmaker Friday, where we celebrate the unique creative forces that make up VIMBY Nation.  Today we spend a little time with the gregarious and approachable Garrick Lane.

  • Name: Garrick Lane
  • Hometown: Conover, North Carolina
  • Years working with VIMBY: Eight Years
  • Favorite VIMBY production: Essence Fest in Louisiana
  • Favorite thing about being a filmmakerI love the process. From concept to finished video, the creation is what makes me love this job.
  • Most important item on set that is NOT a piece of technical gear: 5 Hour Energy is a must on any set especially if call is 7am or earlier
  • Favorite snack food: Wasabi Almonds
  • If I wasn't doing this I would be:drinking massive amounts of Tequila and waiting for death to grip me.

Weekend Read/Listen: Red Bull Practically Invented Branded Entertainment. What’s Next?

Welcome back to #VIMBY Weekend Read!  Today we ask you to listen.  Sharing an interesting podcast via Variety with Red Bull Media Network CEO Gerrit Meier.  Red Bull was among the first brands to redefine their relationship with their audience via compelling branded content.  Take a listen and let us know what you think - how is your brand communicating with your audience?

https://variety.com/2019/biz/news/red-bull-branded-entertainment-gerrit-meier-1203142065/