How to Make Branded Content That Resonates With Millennials

James Deutch on 'quality and thoughtfulness'


Current gig Branded entertainment creative director, AwesomenessTV

Previous gig Executive producer and creator, Fashion Star

Age 45

Which qualities does branded content require in order to resonate with millennials?

We really work closely with the talent to develop things that are organic to their personalities. There are certain genres that resonate well with teens and people in their 20s, and we really try to focus on these things like music, fashion and romantic comedies.

Is it true that millennials don't watch TV?

Definitely you're seeing a real migration away from linear television to on-demand television and streaming television. But to me, television is everywhere. It's what I watch on my computer, on my phone. I don't think television is just something that lives in my living room anymore. The companies like AwesomenessTV that got ahead of the curve and saw that thought, we're all watching TV on different devices. How do we program everywhere and with a high degree of quality and thoughtfulness?

How has that affected programming?

The length [online] is much different from what you are restricted to on traditional TV. A one-hour TV episode was pretty much determined by the linearity of the medium and the clock. Now that it's on demand, you're really free. If the story is good, people will watch it.

What other insights have you discovered about the female teen audience?

It's about being organic. We have a series called Royal Crush that we did with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and it's a scripted romantic comedy. We have almost 7 million video views for six episodes. It's a classic romantic storyline, but it's done in a way that features stars that teens connect with. It's a great example of how to make a scripted show where the brand is totally organic to the storyline because it takes place on a cruise ship. It resonated with the viewers because it wasn't like we said you have to go take a cruise. Also, at the core of it is story. It's not just getting the camera on the tour bus with the band. We really craft it. I've produced shows for Bravo and NBC. It's no different.

What are your guilty pleasures to watch online?

Lauren Elizabeth, who started out here as an intern, now has close to 900,000 subscribers on YouTube. She's a 20-year-old woman who started out giving fashion and beauty advice, but she's very funny and started doing more comedic things. We launched a series with her where she goes on a camping trip. It's a little bit like I Love Lucy. I also watch Dude Perfect. It's a combination of you and your best buddies hanging out and doing really cool stuff, but it's steeped in actual sports. I'd love to figure out something targeting women like that. I love cooking shows like Jamie Oliver's channel and Epic Meal Time. Food to me is entertainment.

Publish date: June 1, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT