YouTube to Promote Vice, 'Epic Rap Battles of History' With World Cup Ads

Campaign to Drive Eyeballs and Ad Dollars Will Also Court Cannes Attendees

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YouTube is kicking up its latest marketing push to the world's stage.

Two months after debuting its first TV spots promoting YouTube creators, the Google-owned video service will air ads during every World Cup match, starting with Thursday's opener. The World Cup ads will kick off the campaign's second wave and promote channels for Vice News and Maker Studios' Epic Rap Battles of History.

The World Cup spots touting Epic Rap Battles will hit first and air to audiences in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. The ones promoting Vice News will follow in the coming weeks, a YouTube spokesperson said.

The campaign is YouTube's bid to inject its content creators into the mainstream and direct more TV ad dollars to the service. The effort began last spring with huge campaigns built around style gurus Bethany Mota, Michelle Phan and Rosanna Pansino.

Both Vice News and Epic Rap Battles are among the top 5% of YouTube channels that make up Google Preferred, a premium content package pitched to NewFronts attendees to buy upfront like TV deals.

YouTube is taking direct aim at advertisers for the campaign's latest iteration. The company will place outdoor ads in Cannes during the advertising industry's annual gathering at the Cannes Lions festival. Outdoor placements will also pop up at VidCon, which is the online video industry's equivalent to Comic-Con and will be held in Anaheim, CA, later this month. And as with the first phase, YouTube will erect billboards in New York City and Chicago.

YouTube is supporting the campaign with digital and mobile ads on a wide range of sites and apps. Those ads will appear on YouTube, ESPN, Hulu, Pandora,,,, The Guardian, The Atlantic, IGN, Reddit and connected-TV devices including Microsoft's Xbox, Sony's Playstation and Roku.

YouTube is also buying ads to run in movie theaters.

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