How Vice Helps Partners Reach Unlikely Audiences

Jordan Kelley, Content Director, BrandStorytelling.tv

Vice Media has long been a savvy creator of brand-funded content and entertainment. The digital media and broadcasting company has never pigeonholed itself, originally offering a print magazine and website that has since branched into journalistic programming, original series, and a television network in Viceland.


Vice’s positioning as a culture-driven journalistic entity makes it a versatile and unique partner – a trait that Vice has taken advantage of, partnering with a large number of major companies. The reason? Vice offers those companies an opportunity to connect with an audience that’s less easily defined; those individuals that take in lots at the margins and value cultural and artistic experiences aren’t as easily reached elsewhere. What’s more is Vice has the ability to embrace and work with brands that this marginal audience might previously have considered cookie-cutter or too “square” to examine and find a connection point with the Vice audience.

This is exactly what Vice and automaker Genesis have been able to achieve with “The Audacity of Design” series. Finding overlapping values in the pursuit of design, craftsmanship, and excellence in one’s craft, Vice has generated a series that meets its audience where they live while still being able to promote an automobile that’s traditional messaging is meant for a more mainstream, ambitious middle (reaching for upper) class.

The series introduces young, unique, avant-garde designers and artists, showcasing their space, their work, and taking stock of their personal values in the form of voiceover. All the while, intercut between the personal moments, is footage of the newest model Genesis SUV. And while it’s not meant to be hidden from the audience that this partnered series does function at a basic level as an advertisement for the Genesis, the series maintains Vice’s familiar voice by keeping the focus on the individuals and their love of design. You can find the series nested amongst unsponsored content on Vice’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Although this type of content is in high demand and pursued by many looking to create branded entertainment that promotes a product, ultimately striking the balance between product messaging and entertainment can be extremely difficult. Vice is able to do it over and over again by maintaining journalistic and production control over the process, making sure that the creative nut of the project is in line with its values and that the end result fits within their vast library of content. In the end, it works because it still sounds, looks, and feels like something you’d watch on Vice, brand partner or no. “The Audacity of Design” is simply another great example of a simple but not-so-easy branded entertainment feat.

About Jordan Kelley

Jordan Kelley is the Content Director at BrandStorytelling.tv. He's an essayist, editor, and observer intent on mapping new media trends and disseminating the most relevant information in the world of branded content. Jordan is a lover of stories and an avid consumer of new media.

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