Meet the Makers: Hulu & Reach with Rudy Mancuso – Only Rudys in the Building
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Meet the Makers: Hulu & Reach with Rudy Mancuso – Only Rudys in the BuildingJanuary 2022
How a YouTube creator helped Hulu tap into an entirely new fan base
Brands are always on the hunt for new ways to bridge the gap between a product and its potential audience. But how do you navigate that journey when your product isn’t sitting on a shelf — and instead, on a streaming platform?
In this episode, meet Gabe Gordon, Co-Founder, Reach Agency; Ari Avishay, VP Content Marketing, Hulu; and Emma Jennings, Content Architect, Google Creative Works. Hear how they harnessed the creativity and audience of YouTube creator Rudy Mancuso, to deliver a horde of new fans for the Hulu Originals series Only Murders In The Building. Here’s some of the takeaways they uncovered in the process:
Meet your audience at the intersection of their interests
Themes of mystery, fashion, and music in combination with Martin Short, Steve Martin and Selena Gomez meant there was a diverse mix of interests present in Only Murders In The Building. Not only did it present a myriad of avenues for creative ideas, it also presented challenges when it came to pinning down an audience.
“I basically ‘Rudified’ a version of Only Murders In The Building. The purpose is for my audience to watch it, share it, and hopefully be inspired to translate that interest into the actual show for Hulu”, says Mancuso.
“It would take a specific style of storyteller to work for this specific show.” Adds Avishay. “But also in the voice, and through the narrative of a key partner, and that’s where Rudy felt like the perfect partner for us to work with.”
Aligning the interests present in Only Murders In The Building with the themes present in a YouTube creator’s work meant Hulu could gain instant access to a huge audience that were likely to engage with the new show.
Be willing to hand over the reins
To use external talent in the most effective way possible, brands know they need to let the talent do what they do best. But this can be a scary prospect when it means handing over creative control of your campaign.
Avishay elaborates, “Inherently, there will be some risk. But also when working with someone as talented as Rudy, you need to let him do his thing”. On his experience working with the Hulu and Reach teams, Mancuso expands, “We were very much on the same page and that only ever happens when it’s unanimously agreed that this person, this creator, this storyteller, is going to speak in an authentic voice.”
Giving Mancuso complete control over the creative meant he could make something which heavily resonated with his own audience and primed them to engage with Hulu’s content.
Use content and media in harmony
To have a YouTube creator speak directly to their audience about your product is a powerful thing – and doubly so when you have the ability to boost its reach.
On the addition of media, Jennings says, “To have this incredible content be supported by media was so smart. You need the media to make sure you’re hitting the right audience, [to know] ‘do they like it?’ and ‘is it driving consideration?’ This was just another tool in the toolbox.”
With this approach, Hulu not only had access to Mancuso’s audience but had access to a powerful piece of creative they could support.
When it comes to engaged audiences, few can compare to the subscribership of YouTube creators. To be able to tap into even just an ounce of this engagement is a huge opportunity for brands. And with the interests of YouTube creators ranging from the very broadest of topics, to the most niche, there’s certainly more than Only Rudys In The Building.
It's not just about finding the locations where these audiences are, but the style with which you communicate to them. And it's quite a challenge at this time when there's so much great film, television, audio out there. Only Murders in the Building stars three of most talented, artists in the world in Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez. There is, of course, a large audience that are fans of Steve Martin, Martin Short. And probably are unaware or not fans of Selena Gomez and inversely, there are hundreds of millions of Selena Gomez fans, who probably don't know who Steve Martin and Martin Short was.
One of the ideas that they brought us was to work with the YouTube Creator. To tell a murder-mystery inspired by Only Murders in the Building. It would take a specific style of storyteller to work for this specific show. But also in the voice and through the narrative of a key partner. And that's where Rudy felt like the perfect partner for us to work with.
Something I love to do is multiple characters, I love to incorporate music into my ideas. So I basically Rudified a version and iteration o f Only Murders in the Building with a purposes for my audience to watch it. Share it, and hopefully be inspired to translate that interest onto the actual show.
What we came up with was a concept that was a skit that really explored this idea, which is how well do you actually know your neighbors? Our whole agency has been a big fan of Rudy's for years. And this was our opportunity.
Our team looked at the audience you're trying to reach which was a younger sort of whodunit fan. Like people who are interested in Knives Out, maybe also Selena fans and when we looked at this audience, we saw they love suspense. They love to get to the root of things. They love to figure things out. It kept users engaged. They wanted to watch the whole thing to figure out what was going on here.
Every brand and client has to make a decision when they're picking creative. Do you do something that might be more proven? And, you know, might work. But usually, that concept is a little less original, right? And then there's always another option that is a little outside of your comfort zone, but has such great opportunity.
Inherently, there will be some risk but also when working with someone as talented as Rudy, you need to let him do his thing.
We're very much on the same page and that only ever happens when it's unanimously agreed this person, this creator, this Storyteller is going to speak in an authentic voice. It's authentic to them, there weren't a lot of notes, it wasn't tedious. They let me tell the story, the way I wanted to tell her. They gave me that creative license and that's invaluable.
We knew we were going to have to create a fully integrated campaign throughout many different mediums of popular culture, tell many different stories through the eyes of many different important partners.
But to have this incredible piece of content also be supported by media was so smart. You need the media to make sure you're hitting the right audience and your understanding. Do they like it? And is it driving consideration? This was just another tool in their toolbox.
I think the success of this execution of this i s going to have us looking for more of these types of opportunities to interact with fans and audiences in ways that maybe we didn't consider in the past.
There was just so much love for this and it was both love for Hulu and love for Rudy. So again, I felt like we created something that works for everyone which I'm always proud of.