Agent-turned-producer Nick Reed will find out Sunday if he’s an Oscar winner for his short documentary “The Lady in Number 6 — Music Saved My Life.”
To market the film about Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer (pictured above), Reed turned to YouTube, where the video clips have over 1 million views. That led to the formation of Contagious, touted as the first full service brand agency to focus exclusively on YouTube.
Reed worked for two decades at ICM and became head of the motion picture literary department before leaving in 2010. He decided at the 2011 Academy Awards to try making a documentary and settled on Herz-Sommer, who died Feb. 23 at the age of 110.
Netflix acquired the U.S. rights to “The Lady in Number 6” (pictured) this week.
Reed told Variety that as a result of working with Cameron Manwaring on promoting the documentary, he saw the power of YouTube as the future platform for brand engagement — leading to Thursday’s official launch with Manwaring and former Omincom executive Tim Staples.
“What I discovered is that YouTube is a real community,” Reed said. “Kids are now living on it.”
Reed brings expertise in Hollywood/traditional media while Manwaring specializes in digital media/YouTube and Staples supplies the know-how in branding/marketing. The trio began with a soft launch was in October with viral videos for clients Turkish Airlines (136 million views for an ad starring Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi) and Poo Pourri (23 million views).
Other brands include Flyboard, Nvidia, Devinsupertramp and Kurt Hugo Schneider. The basic idea is to reach 16-to-34 year olds by tailoring content specifically for YouTube and distributing that content so as to increase its “shareability” across social and traditional media platforms.
“Placing an ad on television is becoming obsolete,” said Manwaring. “We know the secret to future brand success and visibility is creating video content specifically for YouTube, where the whole world can see and engage with your content.”