Yes You Can (and Should) Create Brand-Funded Content During the Pandemic
Jordan Kelley, Content Director, BrandStorytelling.tv
At Home with Jennifer is a new, original production from Webby Award-winning host Jennifer Pate. The series, in addition to helping its audience make life adjustments during the novel Coronavirus Pandemic, is being produced in partnership with Henkel, incorporating multiple brands in the program with an eye on inbound marketing. At Home with Jennifer satisfies the needs of its target audience and the needs of its brand partner, all while conducting a safety-critical production.
Jennifer Pate is more than just the talent in At Home with Jennifer. She created and hosted the award-winning web series, Jen and Barb Mom Life. The series ran for five seasons and over 120 episodes, most notably with sponsorship from 48 brands. Pate’s experience at the intersection of understanding the needs of her core audience and working with brands has led her to a number of branded entertainment successes. She co-created and co-produced 3 seasons of the scripted comedy Single Life for Condé Nast and Glamour.com. She also authored the self-help book The Mothers of Reinvention; Reclaim Your Identity, Unleash Your Potential, Love Your Life, demonstrating her ability to tap into the needs of fellow moms and speak to them directly about those needs.
While working on Jen and Barb Mom Live, Jennifer connected with digital disruptor and video pioneer Matt Wasserlauf (currently CEO at Blockboard) to produce the show and the pair bonded over their love of storytelling. They reconnected when Jen had the idea for a show that would address the difficulties of mothers currently working to navigate the struggles of home life during a pandemic.
“We’re currently all home all the time” says Pate. “At Home with Jennifer is focused on finding joy in the moment we’re currently going through”. Subjects explored in the show revolve around creating household systems to reduce workload, seeking positivity in the little day-to-day things, and staying on top of it all while working through the effects of the Coronavirus.
Henkel, the series brand partner, came on board in large part due to Ken Krasnow (VP, Omnichannel Marketing, Henkel North America). Ken’s mission at Henkel is to leverage storytelling and the unique capabilities of digital, data, and technology to connect with modern day consumers, making him the ideal advocate for fostering a brand partnership with a property like Jennifer’s.
Krasnow understood the importance of placing emphasis on inbound marketing and pitched a solid content marketing strategy to the folks at Henkel, demonstrating the show’s ability to feed all the other verticals. “At Home with Jennifer is our largest branded content endeavor to date” says Krasnow, who was also able to convince the decision makers at Henkel to go forward after having scaled up their branded entertainment endeavors bit by bit over time. “It’s important to accelerate marketing in different ways and to be there for people during a downturn,” says Krasnow. “It is a data driven story on the client side. It’s about bringing the evidence forth. Kantar, Nielsen, Gartner… these are companies with a treasure trove of data that tell what leading marketers do in a downturn."
With the green light from the brand partner, At Home With Jennifer has been in production using social distancing guidelines and shooting with skeleton crews on long lenses. Using safe shooting practices is the final piece of the pandemic content puzzle.
Jennifer’s experience demonstrates that she understands the value of relating on a human level to her audience. Matt Wasserlauf’s background lends itself to the production of a series that capitalizes on Jennifer’s talents. Ken Krasnow has done the research and through it been able to demonstrate the viability of a brand’s involvement in content that will work as inbound marketing. Take the drive to make an impact on people stuck at home, combine it with digital production prowess and the support of a brand whose values agree with the sentiment of making an impact during a difficult moment, and you get effective brand-funded content during a global Pandemic that satisfies all parties involved.
About Jordan Kelley
Jordan Kelley is a versatile creative intent on mapping new media trends and disseminating the most relevant information in the world of branded content. He is a lover of stories and an avid consumer of visual media.