Celebrities and sports stars are often the exposed engine (overexposed?) propelling marketing’s branded content machine. The star gets an endorsement opportunity beyond a hold-the-product-and-smile moment, while the brand aims to conjure an association more authentic than the reek of a superficial hard-sell.
Now, NBA superstar Kevin Durant takes branded content a step further by not only appearing in, but also producing a new brand content series with American Family Insurance.
Durant’s Thirty Five Media, owned with his business partner Rich Kleiman, has launched “Dream to Achieve,” a four-part series that aims to “inspire people to pursue their dreams.” The first two episodes in the series will go live on Durant’s YouTube channel, and feature Black Girls Code CEO Kimberly Bryant, TechActivist.org founder Idalin Bobe, Forward founder and CEO Adrian Aoun, and ClassPass CEO Fritz Lanman.
Each episode features Durant and Kleiman talking to these tech entrepreneurs about what they do, what it took to achieve their goals, and how individual success can work to help others achieve their dreams. The first episode, which runs almost six minutes, is less a formal interview than a roundtable conversation, and the result is a bit uneven. Kleiman plays moderator, while Durant primarily talks about what interests him in the tech space. It feels as if we don’t get a close enough look at either Aoun’s Forward–where is it implemented? Who’s using it now? When will my doctor’s office have this tech?–nor into what interests Durant in it enough to have invested. The episode then quickly switches gears to talk about achieving dreams in a way that feels a bit forced. It’s like two compelling conversations were cut into one pretty good chat.
Durant is not a flashy, gregarious personality, so no one should expect him to be Casey Neistat. As anyone who has listened to his epic podcast interviews with Bill Simmons knows, Durant’s got his own, low-key charm that, when used correctly, is incredibly entertaining and refreshingly frank. If anything, “Dream to Achieve” would actually benefit with its biggest name taking the interview reins and giving us more details and insight into why we should be watching in the first place.