A Taste of Honey

For those agencies and clients that are still nervously dipping their toes into digital media and branded content, wary of its true value, a new website launched this month by US ad agency Droga5 and production company Smuggler seriously ups the ante

The site, titled Honeyshed, is a shopping and entertainment hub, pitched at 18-35 year olds.

On the surface its concept is pretty simple–a line-up of six young and attractive presenters (which will expand to 12 by the new year) sit around and sell various products to visitors to the site, who can then buy them as they watch or place the items in their ‘stash’ and decide later which ones to pick up, with Honeyshed receiving a cut of the revenue. So far, so shopping channel.

What sets Honeyshed apart is its irreverent style—the presenters are genuinely funny and entertaining to watch—and the range of products available on the website, all of which are ‘curated’ by its creators. “It’s defined by who’s on there and who’s not on there,” explains David Droga, chairman of Honeyshed, “it’s not just for anyone.” This editorial approach seems crucial to the success of the website, with users likely to be drawn back to see which new products have been selected for them.

Honeyshed was formulated back when Droga was worldwide creative director at Publicis, and the network is funding the site. All content is being produced out of Honeyshed’s own studio in Los Angeles, and so far all the videos on the website have been directed by Smuggler’s Brian Beletic, who is Honeyshed’s executive director. Having set the style for the site, he will now work with other directors on the films. In time it is expected that brands featured on the site will also pay towards production costs.

The site at this point is pretty basic, featuring videos going out live and a selection of archived films to choose from, which are categorised by product genre. Its selling factor is currently based strongly around the humour and attractiveness of its presenters, but this too looks likely to evolve. “We’re learning as we go along, we need to play with the user interface and put some edge into the content,” continues Droga. “We don’t just want pretty girls talking.”

In line with its target audience’s interests, the goods on the site centre around entertainment and fashion. There is also a selection of ‘fun shit’ films to watch, and it

is this aspect that seems particularly likely to grow as the site develops. “Once it gets a heavy amount of core users, then you can stretch the model,” continues Droga. “But we’re not hiding from it being a shopping and entertainment channel. It’s completely transparent, we’re there to sell.”

Agency/Production company: Droga5/Smuggler. Chairman: David Droga. President: Patrick Milling Smith. Executive director: Brian Beletic. Head of programming: Kim Howitt. Chief technology officer: Devrin Carlson-Smith.


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