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Generally, a brand creates and associates with content that relates to its positioning and persona. Along the same lines, ed-tech brands are expected to associate with and create content based on education, students, inspirational and motivational, thought-leadership and other such themes.

When Unacademy announced the launch of an offbeat and out-of-the-box music property, ‘Uncademy Unwind’, on the youth entertainment channel MTV, the advertising and marketing industry got intrigued as to why an ‘ed-tech’ brand opted for ‘music entertainment’ content.

Sonal Mishra

Therefore, BuzzInContent caught up with Sonal Mishra, AVP, Marketing, at Unacademy and the brainchild behind the initiative, to understand the thought and the story behind launching ‘Uncademy Unwind’ on MTV India.

Mishra said the pandemic had been harsh on everyone, including students, and music is a way for everyone to relax. So the brand decided to opt for music content as a means to connect with its target audience.

“As a brand that touches millions of youth, it has always been our endeavour to explore newer avenues of connecting with them. The pandemic has been difficult for everyone and our learners have had to face academic disruptions and uncertainties. Learners love music and use it as a mechanism to relax and with Unacademy Unwind, we wanted to help them rejuvenate and de-stress. Unacademy Unwind was initiated to drive a broader objective of building newer touchpoints and to strengthen the brand’s resonance with learners,” she said.

‘Unacademy Unwind with MTV’ consists of recreations and original compositions, designed to cater to the music taste of a young audience. The show features artists across 10 genres of music in a special programme, spanning 10 episodes. The line-up comprises musicians such as Lucky Ali, Sonu Nigam, Kailash Kher, Badshah, Darshan Raval, Arjun Kanungo, Benny Dayal, Papon, Armaan Malik, Amaal Mallik, Harshdeep Kaur, Monali Thakur, Rochak Kohli, Asees Kaur, Sneha Khanwalkar, Aastha Gill, Reet Talwar, Lijo and King.  The show will consist of recreations and original compositions, designed to cater to the music taste of a young audience.

It seems Uncademy wants to build it into a long-term content IP because it has also created a separate YouTube channel for the series. The show was launched on August 13, 2021, and the YouTube channel has already garnered over 151K subscribers.

The YouTube channel:

A new episode will be launched every Friday at 7 pm on MTV. It is to be noted that most of the time TV channels don’t give prime time slots to branded content and instead keep them for their original content. In fact, branded content isn’t given that much footage compared to the original content of TV channels. But in this case, Unacademy Unwind has been given a prime time slot on MTV.

Mishra said, “We partnered with MTV because we had a common vision to create something that resonates with the Learner community. Both Unacademy and MTV have been making efforts to promote this show. Keeping this in mind we felt a prime time slot would help us get higher visibility and we decided to go ahead with a Friday 7 pm slot. Both sides were always aligned about this show getting a prime time slot.”

The idea was conceptualised by Unacademy and they partnered with MTV to execute it. The whole process of launching the show took about 3-4 months, which included finalising the show format, list of artists, set designs, list of songs and promotion plan.

Talking about how the brand is integrated into the show, Mishra said, “The brand is integrated seamlessly across different branding elements and, of course, the property itself is called ‘Unacademy Unwind’.”

The music show will be promoted on TV and digital. The brand is presently running promos on TV and various social media promotions across its channels as well as on MTV. The featured artists are promoting the show on their social media.

Creating music content-led IP on TV is an expensive affair for brands. It isn’t like buying ad inventories. It is risky, but worth the brand’s money if created and promoted well. The brand integration has to be subtle and not on the face of the music property.

Mishra said while there are several aspects that one must keep in mind, she listed four most crucial checkpoints:

- Content that has mass appeal and is highly consumed by the TG.

- Ensure an optimum mix of known and popular songs, along with new compositions.

- Collaborate with popular singers from the industry who have a strong reach.

- Choose the right mix of genres so that the show does not alienate any type of music listener.