This past weekend, Marriott Content Studio and What’s Trending released their first co-production featuring YouTube talent, including Jeana from PrankVsPrank, Louis Cole (FunForLouis), Tom from TheSyndicateProject, Steve Zaragoza from SourceFed, and Meghan Camarena (Strawburry17), as they live out their bucket list items in cities like New York City, Shanghai, and San Francisco.
The project marks the first to come from the earlier announced development deal between the two companies.
Though the content itself, which lives on Marriott’s YouTube channel, is rather underwhelming, the five videos released have accumulated over 100,000 views each and modest engagement. Where the content excels is burying the Marriott references so as to not feel overly promotional for the brand, with the goal of thematically weaving in a busy tourist’s schedule with the ease and convenience of Marriott’s “your room is ready” alert and mobile check in.
“As the world’s largest travel company, our goal is to own the travel lifestyle with content from the time someone is thinking about a trip to the time they get home and all of the things they experience from food, to art, to music, and beyond,” said David Beebe, vice president, creative + content marketing, global marketing for Marriott International, over email.
And while neither What’s Trending nor Marriott would confirm the long term production plans for this particular format, both indicated that the likelihood of multiple binge-released videos is high.
“One of the key strategies of the Marriott Content Studio is to partner with and enable the creative community to do what they do best — create compelling story driven content in all formats across all screens,” added Beebe.
What does that mean for What’s Trending, which built its business around live programming and live event activations?
“What’s Trending had been looked at in various ways as we’ve iterated over the years as a show, as a site, as an online hub, and a YouTube channel but in 2015, we’re looking to take the brand even farther into branded entertainment and more agency services,” said Shira Lazar, co-founder and the face of What’s Trending.