When it was set up two years ago, Viceland was a surprising proposition: a TV channel born from an online news channel. The move was a surprise only because the media narrative was that traditional media ‘was dying’ as a result of continued digital disruption.
Nonetheless, Viceland found an audience that wasn’t being served. It offered a unique tone of voice and took a look at a variety of lifestyle topics such as sex, drugs, music, culture. It offered a birdseye view of what it means to be a part of today’s world. That is certainly the focus that its senior director of marketing, Michele Beno has taken in promoting and building the brand.
Whether it is Action Bronson and his crew travelling around the world casually consuming intricate food, or Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page and Ian Daniel on Gaycation going shining a light on inspirational LGBTQ people, the media brand has found its niche in the market.
Speaking to The Drum in Austin at SXSW from the Viceland bus, a crucial part of the channel’s activation strategy across the US (boasting a paddock of cute goats), Beno is confident the Emmy-winning channel continues to strengthen its ties with its audiences.
“At SXSW, everything is exclusive or badge-only and you always need to be on a list or checked-in. Our bus is a very open, communal space. We’re really about being open and having a conversation around our audience and that is the brand you see on the channel and you see in our marketing. We’re having a conversation with our audience and we want them to feel like they are a part of us, there’s are no rules in this space. That is a metaphor for our brand as well. We want people to feel like when they come into a space like this, that they feel invited in and welcomed,” Beno explains of the activation strategy.
“That conversation has amplified and has become more defined. In the marketplace we’ve gotten a lot recognition for that; for our tone, for our voice and for our brand love, for our experiences and it’s nice that we are getting that recognition in a space that is very cluttered. There are so many around who have been doing this forever and for a new player to come onto the scene and get those kind of accolades, particularly around the marketing and the programming, it feels good that people are taking notice."