Universal Music has launched a Bebo-based project, branded by London design consultancy Social UK, to help the label attract unsigned artists.
Central to the concept is a character-based fictional ‘soap opera’ on the social networking site, which Universal hopes will encourage real musicians to share their music.
The show, which will be streamed over a website, www.bebo.com/samking, designed by independent film production company Monkey Kingdom, will feature a logo, Web pages and the identity of central character Sam, all designed by Social UK.
‘We created a whole graphics package’, says Social UK director Steven Lucker. It is set to launch on 6 August.
He reveals that the project came out of a long working relationship between the two companies.
Universal approached Social UK, on the understanding that the project would be completed within a week.
The multinational record company is hoping that the brand will gain recognition and that the concept will be picked up by terrestrial channels, according to Lucker.
Lucker says of the project, ‘We’ve been working with Universal for five years so didn’t have to pitch, and we agreed to get it ready for the company with the long-term prospect of getting it to a terrestrial audience.
‘[The new brand] is a hybrid, bridging the gap between reality TV and soap opera. On the one hand it benefits Universal and it’s a great way for recruiting. On the other, kids will think, “I could send my stuff in and it will be picked up”.’
Aimed at musicians under 25, Lucker sees potential success in the simplicity of the project. ‘I think the younger market is particularly aware of sponsors. We had to keep it relatively underground,’ he says.