Michael Rich
Dec 12, 2017

Leveraging reality talent competitions to reach Asia’s ad blocking generation

Looking to leap the ever-present hurdle of ad blockers? A winning strategy is less about fighting the tech itself, and more about creating compelling content.

Maybelline creative director, Nigel Stanislaus, and R Nametha of Asia's Next Top Model during a #MakeITHappen Q&A session
Maybelline creative director, Nigel Stanislaus, and R Nametha of Asia's Next Top Model during a #MakeITHappen Q&A session
PARTNER CONTENT

When a whopping 94 percent of all mobile ad blocking worldwide occurs in Asia Pacific, and more than 80 percent of APAC consumers say they have left a website in response to an auto-play or pop-up ad, how can brands in this region engage with ad-fatigued consumers?

Reality TV stars, most notably from prestigious talent competition shows, offer a unique way into consumers’ hearts and minds. While many advertising campaigns already leverage the world’s most famous faces, the stars of reality TV are authentic and compelling in a way that’s different to traditional celebrities. Viewers naturally relate to reality stars’ journeys from zero to hero; recognizing their own dreams and ambitions in the struggles and successes of their favorite reality competition stars.

Brands that create collaborative content with reality TV stars can uncover a powerful way to reach their target audience. For example, in a recent campaign, FOX’s creative production house FOX Content Labs helped Maybelline engage consumers through a variety of content featuring the stars of Asia’s Next Top Model. This content included how-to makeup tutorials with the models, and the #MakeItHappen video series gave fans the chance to learn more about each model’s background and personality—reinforcing the excitement of real people becoming star models, and connecting Maybelline to the thrilling world of fashion, fame and beauty.

Content partnerships like these put brands at the heart of the region’s most popular entertainment platforms; engaging consumers through the content and stars they already love. Consumers are increasingly savvy about ignoring or blocking ads they don’t want to see—ad blocking software is expected to cost digital publishers US$27 billion by 2020. However, when branded content delivers real value—for example, by sharing a new story about a favourite reality talent competition star—they are eager to tune in.

A ripple effect of content partnerships is that they can ultimately engage consumers across both digital and linear communications. In the case of Asia’s Next Top Model, fans watching the show on TV are also creating YouTube commentaries and other user-generated content in between episodes. This not only enhances consumer advocacy for the reality TV program, but also gives partner brands the unique opportunity to see what fans are reacting to in real-time, and capitalize on this to drive the best engagement strategy.

Reality TV also opens up opportunities for passive integration, or placing brands within televised content in a way that’s non-intrusive to the viewing experience. Chinese reality competition show Rap of China, one of the country’s most popular reality programs ever, has popularised a number of high-end streetwear brands favoured by contestants and judges. In Singapore, FOX Content Labs worked with Asia’s Next Top Model to create photoshoots themed around beauty brand Neutrogena; naturally integrating Neutrogena’s brand story into the narrative of the reality show.

While reality TV stars get their big break on the small screen, branded content has the potential to go much, much further. After FOX Content Labs created a suite of custom content for Maybelline featuring Asia’s Next Top Model stars, the creative production house amplified it on target consumers’ most loved social media—Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

The #MakeItHappen digital video series, where models had to create a look with Maybelline products in a moving car, while talking about their behind-the-scenes experiences during the show, was a huge hit with social media users wanting to spend even more time with their favourite Asia’s Next Top Models stars. The Maybelline-branded videos reached more than 12 million unique people on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, building up the beauty brand through authentic content and conversations amongst fans.

The lesson for advertisers is that winning consumers’ attention takes a lot more than simply fighting against ad blockers. Instead, brands need to create compelling content that responds to what consumers want to see; from the small screen, to social media and beyond. With compelling content featuring fans’ favourite reality stars, advertisers can reach a generation of consumers who skip the ads, but stick around to see authentic, entertaining content.

Mike Rich is EVP, sales and content partnerships at Fox Networks Group Asia 

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