Rated Red Is A Media Magnet for Millennials

Well made media is a mirror. Programming that truly connects on a meaningful level often does so because it reflects images of self.

According to Campaign, Complex Networks realized that they could reach underserved segments of the online viewing market by showing “selves” that were more reflective, and therefore more relevant to the intended audience.

Rich Antoniello, CEO of Complex Networks, believes Middle America is a large opportunity for publishers and advertisers, and that too many stay away because it’s not considered “sexy.”

By producing videos about guns, tech in the military, the latest zombie VR game, ice racing, motorcycle gadgets and America’s best rodeos, Rated Red has already brought in more than 500 million video views and 1.2 million Facebook followers. The channel also provides an array of How To Videos.

“I think people would be surprised that the audience is not as red as most people would think,” Antoniello said. “We speak in their voice to them, but this is not like a Fox News for young people type of thing. That’s not the play at all. It’s all cultural.”

I would hesitate to say it’s “all cultural,” when many of the videos on Rated Red appear to much closer to a pure advertisement than anything from the entertainment camp.

Did McDonald’s pay for placement? Did Browning? Or is it purely cultural to present attractive young ladies with a craving for McD’s guacamole burger and a hankering for a new shotgun? There’s clearly a meld of media forms here, but the commercial intent is obvious.



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.