OMG! Will MySpace Score With New 'BFF' Show?

J&J's Ortho Sponsors Web Series That Tests How Well Friends Know Each Other

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Can you make money off a catchphrase? Former Miramax executive Meryl Poster is going to try.

Ms. Poster recently launched a MySpace web-video series about best friends with fashion executive David Rubin. Johnson & Johnson's Ortho Women's Health & Urology has been secured as a sponsor for the show, slated to run for 10 to 12 weeks. The name of the program? "BFF."

'BFF' will run until the end of June.
'BFF' will run until the end of June.
Located at myspace.com/bff, "BFF" features a pair of teens trying to show how much they know about each other over the course of just a few minutes and three rounds of games. At MySpace, the show seems to be developing an audience, said Cristian Cussen, content and marketing director for MySpace Video. The show, which features videos approximately four minutes in length, is attracting about 200,000 viewers per episode. "BFF" will run until the end of June.

The twist is that Ms. Poster has obtained a trademark for mainstream use of "BFF," and said she was surprised to discover that "the trademark is in some very offbeat categories" but not "for mainstream sorts of things."

The game features a "BFF app," in which MySpace users can answer a quiz and see who else on the social-networking site shares common interests.

Increase in online video
MySpace has been ramping up its development of online video programs for the past few years, with the goal of bringing quick-hit, "snackable" content to teens, said Mr. Cussen.

The sponsorship from Ortho marks the brand's "first foray into social media," he said, "and they took a bet on a concept that doesn't have any built-in user base, that doesn't have any recognizability. The business community knows really well who Meryl Poster is, but a 19-year-old female MySpace user may not appreciate that."

A spokeswoman for Ortho, which currently runs ads for birth-control medication Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo on the BFF site, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Ms. Poster said she originally thought the concept would play well as a show on network TV and even broached the topic with executives at the CW network. "Ultimately, I thought we were better off doing it on our own in a unique way," she said.

After a short hiatus in June, Mr. Cussen said, executives intend to get started on a second season. It's not known whether Johnson & Johnson's Ortho will come along for the next round of best-friend videos, he said, but MySpace is touting the program to a number of marketers.

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