Smart TV Set/Device Ad Relationships Center Stage at YouTube Brandcast

By Upfronts/NewFronts Archives
Cover image for  article: Smart TV Set/Device Ad Relationships Center Stage at YouTube Brandcast

When Google-owned YouTube launched its annual Brandcast event in 2011, the aim was to carve out more sponsor campaigns reaching audiences on mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Now that smart TV sets and devices have become a prime worldwide destination to catch YouTube -- to the tune of over one billion hours of content every day -- generating and escalating smart TV set/device ad relationships were center stage at the latest Brandcast May 15. Once again this year, the setting was Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall with thousands of industry officials on hand.

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The Big Message: YouTube's army of content creators and influencers are making their mark on culture worldwide and are more willing than ever to get innovative partnerships with advertisers going. "Creators are drawing audiences on the big screen because they're the new Hollywood," YouTube Chief Executive Officer Neal Mohan (pictured above) declared. "There's only one place where you can find a truly unique connection to fans. There's only one place where you can reach every audience you care about."

Hosts: For the most part, YouTube let a group of creators work the show, with Haley Kalil getting the bonus assignment at one point of interviewing National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell and former NFL star and current podcaster Shannon Sharpe. Other creator participants included Cleo Abrams, Taty Cokley, Kinigra Deon and Valkyrae. Later Brandcast portions featured YouTube Chief Business Officer Mary Ellen Coe and from parent Google, Americas & Global Partners President Sean Downey

What Worked: You can always depend on Brandcast to work in some of the best live musical sequences during any Upfronts Week. This version carried on that mantle with an opening song by rising star Benson Boone, kinetic K-Pop from group Stray Kids (accompanying by a selection of Stray Kids fans doing hip-hop choreography learned in recent weeks) and a closing trio of ballads by Grammy/Oscar-winning singer-performer Billie Eilish (with brother Finneas on piano). Her voice is soulful and soul-shattering.

What Also Worked: Giving attendees a variety of successful YouTube ad efforts and documenting what they accomplished. No matter the approach -- product integration, creative commercials produced or overseen by YouTube talent, and immersive game-like animation incorporating augmented reality (Toyota inviting viewers to see the inside of their new Crown model car) -- brand awareness and sales lift shows up.

What Can Work Here: Taking one moment to acknowledge a performer by his or her full name if that performer goes on the stage unannounced. Up front, figure that some people in the audience may not be aware of Benson Boone before they see him sing. Set them straight with a post-performance aside.

Data Points: On average, consumers watch more than 18 hours of YouTube material on smart TV sets/devices daily. More than eight million people pay a monthly fee to have YouTube TV. A recent Kantar Media survey, U.S. viewers believe YouTube is the top video platform for gaming content, outperforming other TV resources and social media.

News: YouTube Select, the top one percent of content running on the service, will launch "Creator Takeovers," where brands will be able to collaborate with top creators to own 100 percent of future creator-fan connections. Google's artificial intelligence platform, Google AI, will be more available for use in advertising and content-making. Some clients also will be invited to place branded QR codes on their interactive TV messages. In a sports TV development, YouTube TV Base Plan will carry Ion/Scripps Sports coverage of selected Friday night WNBA regular-season basketball games, available to subscribers in the home and away markets of the teams playing those games. This special coverage begins May 31.

Bonus Points: Appetizers aplenty for attendees following the presentation, from grilled cheese/mushroom sliders and vegetable gyoza to pesto pasta with a ricotta cheese topping. One big tasty yummo.

Parting Words: "Creators are redefining what we think of as TV, and they deserve the same acclaim as other creative professionals. I believe it's time a creator won an Emmy!" -YouTube Chief Executive Officer Neal Mohan.

"I'm trying to be on YouTube what Tyler Perry does on TV and movies." -Kinigra Deon, prolific YouTube creator-producer.

"Whether brands are looking to reach pop culture fans searching for events like the Oscars or The Met Gala, an audience of beauty and lifestyle fans tuning in for Sydney Morgan's newest makeup review, or fans of an incredible creator like Ryan Trahan tuning in for his latest challenge, they can own the moment that fans are talking about." -Mary Ellen Coe, YouTube Chief Business Officer.

"What makes YouTube special is the creators, the fans, the culture around the content and the innovation." -Google President, Americas & Global Partners Sean Downey.

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