Break Media rolled out its latest branded original web series today, Social Sportz Net, with Southern Comfort signing on for the party. The whiskey maker—technically its a whiskey flavored liqueur—has been one of the most bullish in the digital space lately since announcing this summer it was moving its entire $10 million advertising budget online.
While the show’s branded page is pretty sparse and could use some design help, the show itself is a passable sendup of EPSN’s Sportscenter, with a running ticker of frat scores of beer pong and kick ball rolling by. It’s not quite the pitch-perfect lampoon of 24-hour cable news that is the Onion News Network, but SSN has some laughable moments.
It follows two twentysomething males—smack dab in the middle of Break’s heavily male 18-34 demo—competing in an eight episode arc to throw the most “killer house party.” Southern Comfort gets worked in of course, with different drink mixes written into each party episode—Halloween, Mardi Gras, Superbowl, etc. Though sadly the timid laws regulating spirits (booze) advertising means they couldn’t squeeze real comedy juice of house parties—no drunks, drink pounding or even a comedic puke here and there.
At its core the series is branded entertainment, the latest in a string of originals out of Break, who’s six-person Creative Lab has turned out over 80 brand-backed videos this year for over 25 clients. We talked to Jonathan Small, Head of Break’s Creative Lab and Editorial, who oversees the company’s original content properties.
“Brands come to us because they trust us,” said Small. “They trust that we do it in a good way.” That, and the massive reach of Break’s distribution network, which brings in over 70 million unique visitors, 21.9 million of those coming from flagship Break.com according to October analytics data.
“My job is to work with the client and the agency to figure out what would be the most effective way to get their message across but present it in the most interesting way to our users so they won’t get turned off by it,” added Small. And that he says, comes down to instincts. “At the end of the day we just want to make really good videos.”
In terms of other web series in the works, Small says they have a “whole slew of shows coming for 2010.” Amongst them are web series being developed specifically for its guy friendly network sites like MadeMan, which launched earlier this summer without video, one for MMA fighting site Cage Potato and even one for its NASCAR site All Left Turns. More episodes of Break’s long-running unbranded series Elevator (which just wrapped its 4-part Halloween special) and Man in a Box are also in the works.