Huffington Post trips out with new branded series

The Hilton hotel group has jumped aboard the branded content train, with a new travel-themed series to be hosted on HuffPo and AOL.
August 5, 2016

By Regan Reid

The Hilton hotel group, perhaps taking a cue from branded content veterans Marriott, has launched a new branded series in an effort to reach younger consumers.

Like a Tourist, a 10-part web series which will go live on HuffPost Canada and the AOL “ON” page, seeks to give locals a glimpse of the hidden gems they might find if they were a tourist in their own city. Two of the episodes were custom-created for Hilton and focus on Whistler and Quebec City (pictured), where the hotel has properties, while the other eight are documentary-style, without a brand presence.

The series is produced in association with Toronto’s Buck Productions.

The project came to Buck via RFP, which pitched its storytelling prowess to the popular web portal, Jim Kiriakakis, head of television at Buck Productions, told Playback Daily, StreamDaily’s sister publication.

“What’s exciting is that more and more people are understanding that branded content has to be about the idea first,” he said. “There are still people who want to turn it into more branded than content. This is a scenario where we’re creating content and it becomes branded through the association and the way that we’ve been able to package it.

“You have to create something that people want to see otherwise it doesn’t benefit anybody.”

Brands have increasingly looked to long-form branded content as a way of attracting the cord-cutting millennial and Gen-Z demographic — including another hotel chain Marriott, which has produced a number of short films (all produced in-house) to appeal to younger consumers.

Like A Tourist is executive produced by Buck’s Jim Kiriakakis and Sean Buckley and Rashida Jeeva and Kenny Yum from The Huffington Post Canada. Senior producers on the series are Sasha Nagy, Anna Bilyj and the producers are Alanna Cordona and Victoria Ptashnick from HuffPost Canada Studios. The series is directed by Kiriakakis and Patrice LaCroix. The series is hosted by YouTuber Dan Rodo of The Danocracy YouTube channel (close to 350,000 subscribers; over 34 million video views).

Story courtesy of Playback, with files from Sonya Fatah, Media in Canada

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