A new content marketing campaign, the Invested Life, borrows formats from reality television, is getting under way on Wednesday. The campaign, from the TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation, will be only available online, and is another example of the growing popularity among marketers of what are known as webisodes, a unique form of content marketing.
The Invested Life pairs consumers in various life stages with independent financial advisers — not TD Ameritrade employees — who coach them on subjects like retirement, taxes, real estate, managing debt, saving for college and, of course, investing. Consumers online will be able to watch episodes of “The Invested Life” on the Money section of msn.com. TD Ameritrade is planning three three-month “seasons” for the Web show. The first is to run through December, the second from January through March and the third from April through June. The nine-month time span is about the same as for a series on traditional television.
And like a reality TV series, “The Invested Life” will have a host, Suzanne Sena, who has appeared on channels like E! and Fox News and as an anchor of the make-believe Onion News Network. “The Invested Life” episodes will be accompanied by blog posts such as “60 and Stressing“, video clips such as “Meet the Rookie“and other online materials to help the audience with their own personal financial needs. The Web series will also have a presence in social media like Facebook and Twitter. TD Ameritrade will spend an estimated $5 million to $10 million on the campaign, which is being developed by two agencies and the MSN unit of the Microsoft Corporation.
“This is an additional way for people to engage,” stated Mr. Sidebottom, “and puts it in a context that makes it more accessible to more people.”
“With our history as a leading online brokerage, doing something online seemed like a natural choice,” Mr. Sidebottom said. And “getting Americans to engage in their financial life in a new and creative way is important at this time,” he added. Generate, a production and talent management agency in Santa Monica, Calif., collaborated on “The Invested Life” with MSN and Ogilvy Entertainment in New York. “We have done a lot of webisodes, but this is the first unscripted Web series we’ve worked on,” said Doug Scott, president of Ogilvy Entertainment, a sibling of the TD Ameritrade creative agency, the Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide division of WPP. Mr. Scott likened “The Invested Life” to “ ‘The Real World’ in Suze Orman’s house,” invoking the MTV reality series and the financial adviser. “Or if you want to elevator pitch it,” Mr. Scott said, “it’s ‘Extreme Makeover: Finance Edition.’ ” The Web is a better home for “The Invested Life,” he added, because of the markets’ changing dynamics; the longer lead times required for television production could render the recommendations from the advisers as outdated or irrelevant.
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TD Ameritrade Sponsors First-of-its-Kind Online Financial Reality Series