Good Content Is A Virtue

Creativity cozied up to Virtue, a new agency from the Canadian media company that produces the free tabloid Vice in 22 cities.
The growing concern also includes Vice Books, Vice Films, Vice Music and Vice retail stores. In 2007, the founders of Vice launched with the humble goal of exploiting “every utopian vision the internet has thus far failed to live up to.” Then they turned their attention to advertising.
Here’s some of their work for Red Bull:

Jeef Beer, who wrote the Creativity piece asks rhetorically, “So, just how do the debaucherous darlings of the hipsterati go from writing articles called ‘Grandma Blowjob’ and ‘Interview with a Black Guy’ to launching brand partnerships with global corporations like Dell, Pepsico and Nike?”
Part of the answer is Vice has a direct line to the hipsters. The other answer is the company’s staff of writers, photographers, artists and producers who make “cool stuff.”
But won’t Vice lose it’s street cred if it serves brands? Of course, we all do.
Hold it. Not so fast. Virtue’s general manager Hosi Simon has different ideas.

Simon says that utilizing the network of Vice and VBS contributors for cpommerical projects doesn’t breach editorial integrity because all the branded work is completely transparent. Vice is always Vice. Everything else is labeled accordingly. “It’s important that we exist within our own cultural context, within our own media brand that we have to protect,” he says.

You may know from reading this site regularly that I love this topic. That I hitched my own wagon to content three years ago when I went from making ads for Baileys and others to creating an online music magazine for Camel.
Right now, I’m looking high and low to find the next brand-sponsored content project to take on. I’d love to hear from you if that’s something you’re also working on or want to start working on.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.