DanceOn Helps Create Shoe Carnival's Fall Campaign

Back-to-School Spots Feature DanceOn Talent and Influencers

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DanceOn, the multichannel video network that's made Silento's "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" a viral sensation, is upping its ad game.

Shoe Carnival agency of record 22squared tapped DanceOn for the "Show 'em Watcha Got" back-to-school campaign, leaning on the digital programmer's trove of dance talent and access to established and up-and-coming music.

DanceOn, working in collaboration with 22squared, produced, casted and provided music for the campaign, which included traditional TV spots, digital assets, print, in-store elements and a sweepstakes.

While DanceOn sells ads and sponsorships for its original programming and creates custom content to live in and around its content, this is the first time the company has worked on a campaign that will live beyond its distribution vehicles. And DanceOn CEO Amanda Taylor said she expects that there's an opportunity to work with more brands in this way moving forward.

DanceOn has been expanding its ad sales unit, recently bringing in Karen Schuchardt from ABC to lead global ad sales.

DanceOn is setting itself up as a full-service media, marketing and content partner that can help navigate the complexities of securing music rights and working with talent, said Ms. Schuchardt, who serves as chief revenue officer.

Shoe Carnival is hoping DanceOn will do for the retailer what it's done for "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" and other songs. The Silento single was the most-watched YouTube video of 2015, and currently has more than 959 million views. The track hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 following the video.

The goal is to make Shoe Carnival a "cool destination" for back-to-school without alienating mom, said Todd Beurman, senior VP-marketing, Shoe Carnival.

"The idea of dance and music is very important to us from a positioning standpoint," Mr. Beurman added.

The spot, staring influencers like KK Harris, Austin Spacy, Simrin Player and Du-Shant "Fik-shun" Stegall, features a dance dual between a female and male student and their friends -- with Shoe Carnival footwear front and center.

"Turnin' Heads" by Banzai, an American pop/funk/hip-hop duo is the soundtrack for the commercial. The song will be available to purchase and stream later this week. Unlike typical campaigns, which license a song after it has made its way up the charts, DanceOn licensed the song ahead of its release.

The commercial will air on national cable as well as locally during the Olympics. DanceOn will also promote the spot on its YouTube channel, while its talent will push it out over its social accounts.

Co-founded by Ms. Taylor and Madonna, DanceOn launched in 2011, taking songs and giving them to dance groups to turn into videos. DanceOn viewers -- mostly millennials and Gen Z -- often watch these videos and then make their own, creating a loop that helps songs top the charts. DanceOn is also a launch partner of Verizon's go90, with plans to produce 25 original series for the platform through 2017.

DanceOn boasts 350 million video views monthly and over 75 million users across its social channels, which aside from YouTube, include Facebook and Snapchat.

Ms. Taylor said what makes DanceOn a good advertising partner is that "we are a company that understands how to make shareable content."

And DanceOn is expanding beyond dance videos and dance-focused programming, moving more broadly into music content. To this end, during the NewFronts this spring the company unveiled Izo, which will house more music-oriented programming.

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CORRECTION: Based on information provided by Shoe Carnival and DanceOn, an earlier version of this article understated the role of Shoe Carnival agency of record 22squared in the "Show 'em Watcha Got" campaign. The article said DanceOn executed the campaign "from start-to-finish," including handling production, casting and music, and that Shoe Carnival "bypassed the traditional agency for its back-to-school marketing." DanceOn's work on the campaign was a collaboration with 22squared, the companies said after publication. An earlier version of this article also said DanceOn is getting into the creative agency business; the multichannel network is offering advertisers content creation, media and marketing services, but it is not positioning itself as a creative agency.