Joining YouTube in 2007, WongFu Productions is a filmmaking group made of Wesley Chan, Phillip Wang, and Ted Fu. Through their short films, they aim to break the stereotypes of Asian-Americans that have been projected through mainstream media. As of January 2016, they have amassed over 2 million subscribers and have attracted over 385 million video views. Through their YouTube stardom, they have established themselves as ambassadors for the Asian community.
Branded Entertainment: Away We Happened
Branded Entertainment is a form of advertising that involves using generated content as a medium to promote a particular brand. While there are many ways to go about advertising in this manner, this post will focus on how companies collaborate with YouTube channels to create videos. In 2012, WongFu Productions collaborated with AT&T to create Away We Happened: a web series that was the first of its kind. The video below will explain the mechanics of this marketing campaign:
First, WongFu would release the first episode of the series which sets the scene of the story. Then, the viewers visit the corresponding Facebook app to submit ideas for how they think the story should continue. Meanwhile, the audience must vote for the idea that they like the most- all of which happening in 2 days. The Top 5 are considered, and WongFu films the idea they like the most and posts the next episode the following week.
Why It Works
Within all the branded content that is floating around YouTube, this is the first web series that is completely interactive with its audience. This interactive web series is an effective marketing tool that would prove to be mutually beneficial for both parties involved. From AT&T’s point of view, it allows the brand to collaborate with a positive influencer base and a legitimate authority in YouTube. In doing so, it positively impacts their brand sentiment while providing content for WongFu Productions. Also, the web series will act as a medium for AT&T to push product placement in a manner that is appealing to the viewer- Nokia, Beats, HTC for example. In addition to the web series, there is a survey where customers are entered into a sweepstakes upon completion. By having the audience complete surveys, they are able to develop a deeper customer profile for the audience they are targeting. On the other hand, WongFu benefits from this collaboration by being given quality content with an increased production value. Also having partnered with a reputable brand like AT&T would elevate their status on YouTube as a more elite channel, and could potentially lead to sponsorships and collaborations with other larger brands.
The data below shows information gathered July 2012 and January 2016. The first set of data shows how well the series performed immediately after the release of the final episode, while the other set shows its current performance.
- 6 episodes
- Over 8 million views via YouTube
- Over 49,000 comments on their videos
- Over 98% positive likes on the videos
- Over 17.5 million views
- Over 98% positive response