Delivering on a promise made by co-owner Justin Timberlake to “bring sexy back to Myspace,” Fox Digital Entertainment and Myspace have announced Let's Big Happy, a seven-episode web series starring Andrew W.K. that debuts on March 28th.
Taco Bell is sponsoring the new web series, which features bands from the chain's Feed the Beat music program which supplies bands with free food while on tour, including performances by Chiddy Bang, We Are Scientists, Math the Band, Generationals, and the Gay Blades.
"The branded entertainment space has evolved over the last few years by doing what is typically labeled as 'organic' integration all the way up to a sponsor wrapping themselves around a program that never mentions their product,” commented Fox Digital Entertainment SVP Matt Glotzer to Billboard.
Let’s Big Happy stars Olive Shipley (played by Angela Sarafyan of Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2) as a music blogger who promotes bands through outrageous antics, such as a lead singer faking his own death and being resurrected at his funeral.
“Where we wind up are in places where the creators are willing to weave (products) into the story. (The debut episode) almost has a level of kitsch. The mindset of Taco Bell is as a certain prop element; there are not tacos in every episode," adds Glotzer. In addition to episodes aired on Myspace, chat streams linked to episodes and a fictional blog in Shipley’s voice aim to broaden engagement and reach.
Myspace is upping its commitment to online video with MyspaceTV, a multiplatform service accessible on laptop, tablet or television screen that works a Myspace Companion app that will launch by June.
"Imagine watching a football game or a concert or even just a favorite sitcom, yet being able to interact, chat, engage with your friends and really make it a shared social media experience," explained Myspace Entertainment president Roger Mincheff to Adweek.
Panasonic signed on as Myspace TV's first brand partner, a significant endorsement as the service will be integrated into Panasonic Viera television sets as part of the electronic giant’s 2012 suite of web-connected products, including Skype with an optional camera mounted on top of the TV.
“MyspaceTV is an over-the-top social television service that brings an entirely new dimension to the TV experience you’re familiar with today,” said Tim Vanderhook, CEO Myspace and founder with brother Chris of Specific Media, which acquired Myspace from News Corp. for $35 million in mid-2011.
Let’s Big Happy is the second collaboration between Myspace and former corporate sibling Fox Digital Studio following the Kia-sponsored Wolfpack of Reseda.
"If you look at Myspace and you look at the roster of [performers] who used it as a platform, Myspace really more than anything is a platform for discovery," said Mincheff to Adweek, adding that combining entertainment with original content is a "landmark for the new Myspace."
As Timberlake stated at CES about why he's bullish on Myspace, “Social historically is what you have done and are doing at the moment. The future of Myspace is what you’re going to do and who you’re going to become.” The big question now is whether original programming is enough to not just bring "sexy" back, but users too.