Nov 07, 2019

A perfect synergy with TV Land’s “Younger” allowed the direct-to-consumer company to move into television advertising.

Book of the Month, an internet-first direct-to-consumer brand, was reaching the majority of its female millennial customers on Instagram and other social media, but when the company couldn’t increase its spend on the platform, CEO John Lippman turned to the medium guaranteed to have the largest reach: television.


Lippman found a partner in Viacom’s ad solutions team that could help it explore TV advertising opportunities, despite a smaller budget than some of TV’s more prevalent CPG brands (think Pepsi, Toyota, Geico, etc.).


The account landed with Brian Gould, vice president, Viacom advertising solutions, who leads a team focused on driving new business, which ensures clients with a smaller spend have equal attention and an individualized approach. TV Land’s Younger—which centers around millennials in the book publishing industry—turned out to be the perfect fit for Book of the Month’s target audience.


“[Book of the Month] reached a point where our social media programs were scaling nicely, but there are limitations there,” Lippman told Viacom. “We were looking to do something that would have broader impact at a higher level, both to drive conversion, and also to increase brand awareness and reach a broader audience."


“We found that once you've scaled up paid social media, when you're looking for something bigger that also provides the ability to tell a story, TV is really the best platform for that,” he continued.

Reaching Younger Audiences With Television

Younger, which is in its sixth season, stars Hillary Duff, Sutton Foster, Nico Tortorella, and Miriam Shor.  Lippman and his team thought that the show, which follows Foster as a 40-something woman pretending to be a millennial to get back into the publishing industry, would provide an ideal entry point for Book of the Month’s foray into television advertising.

“We were very interested in placing a buy to run during [TV Land's] Younger. We're deeply involved in the book publishing world, and we think it's terrific that there's a successful show that depicts the publishing business,” Lippman said. “Also, it has a solid audience demo match for us -- millennial women who are into books.”

Through Book of the Month’s partner at the agency Tatari, the company connected with Viacom to turn its vision of showcasing the company on Younger into a reality.

Sally Rooney’s “Normal People,”was featured in the spot that aired during Younger and turned out to be Book of the Month’s best-selling literary title this year.

In addition to the spot during Younger, Viacom tied in Book of the Month to an experiential partnership at the Season 6 premiere party in Brooklyn. This extra exposure was an added bonus for Book of the Month, which made the deal more attractive, according to Gould.

John Lippman John Lippman

"You're looking for something that's much bigger and has an ability to tell a story. TV was really the best platform for that.”"

John Lippman

Book of the Month CEO

“Many smaller companies that are new to television think it’s cost prohibitive, but we offer solutions for any sized budget.  Being able to add in additional elements like our on the ground partnership unlocked additional value for Book of the Month which ultimately helped close the deal,” Gould said.

He added that in a perfect world, his team would have added an additional layer to the partnership to have influencers creating content at the event and sharing it with their fans to amplify the brand’s exposure even further.

DTC Moving to TV

Increasingly, direct-to-consumer companies whose initial success came online, like Peloton or Rothy’s, are discovering that television is the best way to expand audiences now that they have peaked on social.

“Many DTC brands have done such a good job at becoming relevant in a short period of time, but now they’re hitting a point where in order to keep growing, they need to be on television.  Gould explained. “It’s a great place for us to find new business.”

Gould added that these opportunities create new advertisers and drive more revenue for Viacom. DTC, he notes, is not so much a category as a loose description of “like-minded brands”—ranging from Casper mattresses to food-delivery services—that started on Facebook or Instagram and quickly built a brand from nothing to millions in revenue.

As the media landscape continues to evolve, Viacom and its new business division see enormous advertising opportunities in engaging these DTC brands as they diversify their advertising.

“Our story is very compelling for many DTC companies.  With all the varying solutions we provide, we are able to connect brands with fans, wherever they are consuming our content, said Gould. Not every budget is a million dollars, but if we can start a relationship like Book of the Month at a smaller out of pocket cost and help them build their brand, we will both win in the long run.”

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