The Single Life, a humorous web series about online dating, debuted last year with sponsorship by Dentyne. Apparently it was a success, as it's attracted the interest of “New Girl” and It Girl, actress and singer Zooey Deschanel, and her BFF’s Sophia Rossi, a producer, and Molly McAleer, a writer, to sign on as creative consultants.
The trio are co-founders of HelloGiggles.com, founded last year to be “the ultimate entertainment destination for smart, independent and creative females. Everything hosted on the site will be lady-friendly, so visitors need not worry about finding the standard Boys Club content that makes many entertainment sites unappealing to so many of us.” As gag-inducing as the phrase "lady-friendly" might be, think of it as code for "branded entertainment" for women in the 18-34 demographic.
As a result of the deal, The Single Life will be based at HelloGiggle and syndicated to Digital Broadcasting Group’s video ad network of 2,600 websites targeted toward the 18-34 demo. "As we head into season 2, we wanted to reinvigorate the show and give it some new life and we felt that getting the HelloGiggles staff's input into the actual program would give the webisodic series a new zip or vigor," said DBG Chief Creative Officer Joseph Gomes to the Hollywood Reporter, adding that Deschanel and company will be "creative voices to the program."
Taryn Southern and Jeremy Searle reprise their roles as Kip and Lisa, one year after their first meeting, and test the waters of living happily ever after. “This season will build on the characters and situations we created in the first season, something we believe viewers will be very excited to watch unfold,” said Gomes.
DBG was founded in 2007 by Gomes, Chris Young, Gregg Backer and Rick Kleczkowski, and this latest collaboration is a strategic move in aligning content and niche online audiences. "That's the evolution of the distribution of our programs. There is a definite advantage to pair our strength with other entities who have invested in creating a name for themselves in the space," said Gomes, defining the evolving web digital entertainment is weaving.
DBG has nearly 107 million monthly unique visitors and clients include Infiniti, HP, Ford, Sprint, Mars, the U.S. Air Force, Kimberly Clark, Unilever, and Coca-Cola. As Fast Company notes,
One of (DBG's) highest-profile productions to date was Kiefer Sutherland's The Confession; the company also often works with brands to build video series offering what Young terms "utilitainment" ("providing a brand utility while entertaining the consumer at the same time," he explains). DBG also produces a lot of brief video content that it then pushes to 2,600 partner websites. The company's "sizzle reel" lays it all out.
The trick, Young says, is to keep the branding subtle and integral to the story. "The idea is to try to figure out brand objectives, where are the natural integration points, where it works with the story arc." To "tastefully integrate" the brand is key: "If we the beat user over the head with the brand, they’re not going to engage."
As much as it's a big deal for DBG, it marks Zooey Deschanel as an Ashton Kutcher of sorts — along with her friends, of course. "What the Kardashians do for their relatives is what we do for our friends," said HelloGiggle's Rossi in a WSJ article that continued, “As entrepreneurs, these women are free from the constraints of big corporations. With little deliberation, the group rallied behind Pressed Juicery, a maker of fruit-and-vegetable detox products founded by two other of Ms. Rossi's best friends. While some undergo the full cleansing detox program, Ms. Rossi says, "some of us just drink the juice and tweet."