- Google's YouTube is launching an original four-part docuseries about pop singer Ariana Grande with a campaign that urges fans to visit specially marked billboards throughout the U.S. and Canada, according to a statement shared with Mobile Marketer. Mobile users who scan the "Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries" billboards with a smartphone get access to digital content such as wallpapers for their phone.
- Fans need to open the dangerouswomandiaries.com website with a mobile web browser to see the locations of the billboards on an interactive map. Google partnered with location-based experiences platform Landmrk to create the interactive billboard campaign.
- "The YouTube Originals activation with Ariana Grande clearly shows the opportunity to augment Out Of Home with mixed reality experiences," Seth Jackson, CEO of Landmrk, said in the statement.
Google's promotion for the original docuseries about Grande is notable for combining out-of-home (OOH) advertising with a smartphone activation that provides free content to the pop singer's fans. Opportunities to offer more dynamic OOH billboard experiences through digital and mobile technology are helping drive ad spend in this channel, with the Google campaign highlighting how the strategy can support digital content. Targeting, programmatic buying and tracking are turning the static roadside billboards of the past into a more relevant and interactive advertising opportunity.
Providing access to exclusive content like smartphone wallpapers could help Google and Grande engage the singer's millennial and Gen Z fans, who are receptive to mobile-focused marketing that leverages technology like augmented reality (AR). The campaign follows a similar one that Landmrk developed in the U.K. for Island Records to promote the release of Grande's album "Sweetener." The campaign urged fans to travel to hotspots to unlock prizes such as concert tickets, CD boxes, merchandise and location-specific selfie filters.
While "Dangerous Woman Diaries" promotes Grande's album and her 2019 "Sweetener" tour, the docuseries also is part of Google's effort to boost subscriptions to its paid, premium video streaming service. Grande is the third-most popular celebrity on Instagram with 138 million followers, behind soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo and singer Selena Gomez. That massive following gives her enormous sway among a global audience. New episodes of her "Dangerous Woman Diaries" appear for free each Thursday through Dec. 20, but fans can see the full series immediately by subscribing to YouTube Premium (formerly named YouTube Red) for $12 a month. The paid tier removes ads from videos and offers downloads for offline viewing, according to Hollywood Reporter.
While Google seeks more subscriptions for YouTube Premium, the company is said to be shifting its strategy to monetize original programming with advertising. YouTube has a massive audience of 2 billion users of its free content, which includes a huge library of user-generated videos, but has struggled to compete with Netflix and Amazon in original programming. YouTube Originals has held its programming budget steady in the hundreds of millions, while its two biggest over-the-top rivals spend billions each year on new shows and the streaming rights to theatrical releases.