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LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- By all accounts, the second annual Streamy Awards, honoring the best achievements in web TV, were a disaster. The three-hour ceremony, held April 11 in Los Angeles, ran into multiple technical glitches that prevented clip reels from airing, while planned stunts like male streakers and a pantsless ambushing of an award presenter went awry and made the formal show come off as anarchic. It was enough to make presenting sponsors Kodak, Ikea and Cadbury North America question why they would support quality web entertainment at such an amateur production.
But one of those sponsors, Cadbury's Trident Layers, is standing by its association with the ceremony, acting as the presenting sponsor of a Streamy-themed web series, "The Webventures of Justin & Alden," premiering Tuesday on My Damn Channel, Facebook, YouTube and other key web and video-on-demand platforms. The series is produced by CJP Digital Media's Wilson Cleveland, "The Guild" star Sandeep Parikh, and Illeana Douglas and Dominik Rausch of "Easy to Assemble," and is executed by Trident's media agency, Horizon Media.
|'The Webventures of Justin & Alden' Teaser|
Although the online series was shot before the Streamys were presented, Becky McAninch, senior brand manager for Trident, was candid about the risks associated with supporting an emerging medium like web TV.
"We were excited to sponsor an awards show that's focused on an area in the digital world that we currently see a lot of value in, as well as future potential. We were not aware of the content slated to appear during the show, so we were disappointed in this year's choice of content," Ms. McAninch said. "However, we continue to support the individuals that drive this industry."
The scripted web series follows struggling actors Justin Tyler and Alden Ford on a quest across Los Angeles to get their unproduced web script in the hands of the right star. Along the way they run into a series of name talent among the Streamy set, including Alex Albrecht ("Diggnation"), Felicia Day ("Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog"), Ms. Douglas, Mark Gantt ("The Bannen Way"), Jessica Rose (aka Lonelygirl15), Taryn Southern ("Sorority Forever") and David Wain ("Wainy Days.") There's even a pair of cameos from Shannen Doherty ("Beverly Hills 90210") and Milo Ventimiglia ("Heroes.")
"Webventures" also represents one of Trident's largest single investments in the web. Of the $85 million Trident has spent on measured media in 2008 and 2009, only $1.5 million of that has been on measured digital spending, according to Kantar Media. So Trident's estimated investment of $100,000 to $200,000 in the Streamys and "Webventures" represents a small portion of its marketing budget, but a significant investment for the web TV industry, which can produce multiple seasons of certain series with a six-figure budget.
Still, the threshold for racking up earned video views and impressions on the web is getting higher, thanks in part to the series' producers Ms. Douglas and Mr. Rausch, whose "Easy to Assemble" racked up 9 million views in its second season, a third of which came from Ikea fan sites. CJP's Mr. Cleveland led the blogger outreach for "Assemble," and has adopted a similar strategy to market his own series "The Temp Life," sponsored by recruitment agency Spherion, by engaging online communities of actual temps and part-time workers.
Ms. McAninch said digital marketing continues to be an important part of Cadbury's overall marketing mix, and Trident Layers has been a particularly aggressive player in the space since its launch last September. "We continually evaluate the digital landscape for new and engaging ideas in this space, so anything is possible."