BuzzFeed has announced Launch, a new initiative that will see the entertainment platform partner with start-ups to help promote their products across BuzzFeed properties. Start-ups can pitch their product via the Launch website, and BuzzFeed will choose one per quarter to push to its 650-million-strong audience.
The initiative has emerged from BuzzFeed's Product Labs, the company's e-commerce arm established at the beginning of 2017 that has since launched products including a Bluetooth-enabled cooktop. Ben Kaufman, head of Product Labs, told US tech blog Recode that Launch was inspired by "the fact there's a whole new breed of companies coming out of Kickstarter that don't have a big marketing budget. But we think they will connect with our audience." (See Beta Blends: Dexterous & Dynamic Store Design for more on brands behaving as 'innovation brokers').
According to Recode, BuzzFeed will potentially charge Launch partners 10-20% of their net revenue in exchange for the marketing push across its digital platforms.
BuzzFeed's evolution from supposedly frivolous "listicle" website to product creator and now start-up incubator is one that all brands can learn from. In 2018, every business will need to transform its operations and embrace new roles – particularly in relation to marketing, as ad blocking, automation and the dominance of Facebook and Google continue to be obstacles to consumer attention. Savvy brands will want to follow BuzzFeed's example, positioning themselves in the intersection between underserved consumer needs, breakthrough technology and engaging content.
Our Look Ahead 2018 report will explore these themes in more detail – look out for it in December.