ABC is developing a new reality competition series that might be described as an “American Idol” for the social media influencer set. “#FollowMe,” from Venture 10 Studio Group, will feature aspiring online stars as they compete in various business-themed challenges to build their follower bases. The winner will receive an undisclosed cash prize, a new car and potential brand deals with partner sponsors.
Venture 10 Studio Group has landed Mars Wrigley as corporate integration partner, which means many of the show’s challenges will weave candy and gum products such as M&Ms, Skittles, Snickers, Starburst, Twix, Orbit and Extra into the mix.
“The contestants will have to incorporate the brand points as ‘pitch points’ across their social media – so the challenges will be critiqued on how well they align with the brands messaging as they create mini video campaigns in each episode,” said executive producer John Stevens. “Think of a more contemporary twist on ‘Apprentice’-type challenges from back in the day.”
Along with Stevens, EPs include Spike Feresten and Hans Schiff. Schiff and Stevens set up Venture 10 as a studio backed by private-equity investment firm Salem Partners.
“We’re excited to take viewers into the competitive world of social media influencers,” said Schiff. “Partnering with the strategic corporate brand Mars Wrigley on ‘#FollowMe’ is a testament to the intrigue and influence of today’s social media stars.”
Other brands and sponsors will be announced at a later date. Bob Wall Media handled the sponsor partnerships for “#FollowMe.”
“We recognize the importance of showing up on platforms where our fans are consuming content and influencers play a huge role in driving interest to a new generation of fans,” said Mars Wrigley media director Ray Amati. He noted the deal coincides with the 80th anniversary of M&Ms, and the launch of a new campaign focusing on oral health for Orbit and Extra.
“#FollowMe” has already been cast, the producers said. The deal was brokered by CAA’s Dan Pine and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano’s Todd Weinstein and Mitch Federer.