Embassy Road Produces Daily Series That Airs on Yahoo Music

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LOS ANGELES -- Pepsi has gone on the road with Dave and Shappy.

The soft-drink giant has launched 100 Concerts in 100 Days, a Web series revolving around the antics of 20-somethings Dave Offenheiser and Adam Shapiro as they travel the country and attend concerts along the way.
A five-person crew travels with Dave, on left, and Shappy to produce the Web series.

The series airs on Pepsi Smash, the online music and entertainment channel the company launched with Yahoo Music earlier this summer.

Each day, two minute Webisodes document Dave and Shappy’s exploits and are accompanied by daily journal entries, reviews of shows, message boards, interviews and photos.

Hanging out in Hoboken

Mr. Offenheiser and Mr. Shapiro have already shot 60 days of their trip, but online are only nearing the midpoint, with day 43 (today) showing the duo hanging out in Hoboken, N.J., and attending a Steel Train concert.

Other Webisodes have featured Dave and Shappy getting tips on how to pick up women from singer John Legend, grabbing drinks with actor Laurence Fishburne in a small bar in New Orleans and attending concerts for a mix of established and indie artists. Kanye West, Alicia Keyes, Lisa Marie Presley, Bad Religion, Queensryche, Crystal Gayle and Fishbone, among others, have appeared in previous episodes, all of which are available to view.

The House of Blues helped plan the concert schedule and arranged access to clubs and other venues for the trip. Access to artists has gotten easier as the show has progressed.

“It’s opened a lot of doors for us,” said Chris Hollander, senior marketing manager for Pepsi. “It’s one thing when you have this thing on paper. It’s another thing when you can say take a look at yourself.”

Word-of-mouth gives way to marketing

More than a month into its run, 100 Days in 100 Concerts has relied primarily on word-of-mouth to attract an audience. But Pepsi recently began rolling out a marketing campaign to increase awareness, releasing a 60-second trailer in theaters through National Amusements that promotes the Web series. Its stars have also started making the rounds on local radio stations to talk up their travels.

“We didn’t want to overcommercialize it the first go-around,” Mr. Hollander said. “Because it’s a 100 days, we didn’t feel we needed to go up front with a lot of promotion. We wanted to rely on word of mouth and have people find it and say check this out.”

Embassy Row

Production of 100 Concerts in 100 Days is being handled by Santa Monica, Calif.-based Embassy Row, the production entity formed earlier this year by Tera Hanks, formerly president of Davie-Brown Entertainment; film producer Chris Moore (the American Pie films); and TV producer Michael Davies (Who Wants to Be a Millionaire). In addition to film and TV projects, the company also produced First Descent, the upcoming feature-length snowboarding documentary that was financed by PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew and will be distributed by Universal Pictures in the fall.

Embassy Row has a deal with PepsiCo to develop and produce branded entertainment content for the soft drink maker's various brands.
A five-person crew travels with Dave, on left, and Shappy to produce the Web series.

A five-person crew travels with Dave and Shappy, producing the Web series’ daily installments, which involves not only editing the footage, but also securing the rights for music and locations.

The idea for sending two friends on the road to attend 100 concerts over 100 days was conceived by Mr. Hollander with Embassy Row in late March. Preproduction began in early April and Mr. Offenheiser and Mr. Shapiro were cast in early May. They hit the road June 11 from Los Angeles.

“We thought, this is the ultimate music road trip,” Mr. Hollander said. “Who wouldn’t want to do this if they’re music lovers? We thought this would make great engaging content. You get a taste of what it would be like to do this.”

Quick turnaround

“We took that idea, cast it and developed it,” said Ms. Hanks, president-CEO of Embassy Row. “We were in production three weeks later. It was a very quick turnaround.”

Embassy Row was looking to cast two best friends in their 20s who were big music fans, Ms. Hanks said. Mr. Offenheiser and Mr. Shapiro are two are friends who met while in the sketch comedy group Sketchup during their freshman year at the University of Maryland. Mr. Offenheiser is described as the ultimate player who gets all the ladies, while Mr. Shapiro is the ultimate wingman and life of the party.

“They had been friends for a long time and had a passion for music,” Ms. Hanks said. “They had great energy and a lot of passion to do the project.”

“We’re curious to see if they’re still smiling at day 70 or 99,” Mr. Hollander said.

Exceeding Pepsi's expectations

Yahoo has yet to release official numbers on how many people are watching 100 Concerts in 100 Days, but Mr. Hollander said “early indications are exceeding our expectations” at Pepsi. Yahoo Music attracts 30 million unique visitors each month. “We hope we can bring even more people to Yahoo Music and eventually to Pepsi Smash,” Mr. Hollander said. “We know we have a large chance to hit that audience.”

Those early numbers are already giving Pepsi ideas on how to extend its road trip. Possibilities include a contest giving winners the chance to go on a second trip.

“I guarantee there will be a version two,” Mr. Hollander said. “This will have a lot of legs beyond the first incarnation. We’re just not sure what that will be yet.”
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