Like other news and media companies, The New York Times has its own branded content studio: T Brand Studio.
Unlike those other studios, T Brand is essentially a fully formed business within a business, all thanks to some strategic acquisitions.
T Brand launched in 2014, but the project that quickly earned it a ton of notoriety was an engaging and intellectual piece that shed new light on women’s prisons. It was a partnership with Netflix’s hit show, Orange Is The New Black. The piece was dynamic, visually engaging, and highly researched; it was “true to the Times,” said Sebastian Tomich, the svp of advertising and innovation for the Times.
Tomich, who led the launch of T Brand in 2014, is pushing his team, which has grown to over 100 employees thanks to multiple international offices, to stay ahead of the curve.
This includes working with new technologies, like AR, VR and 360 degree video, in order to go from a “scrappy start-up to a real driving force of ad business” at the Times. In its first year, T Brand earned $13 million in revenue; in 2015, the studio took in $35 million.
The goal was to transform the studio into its own business.
To further achieve that, in 2016, T Brand somewhat quietly acquired two smaller companies: HelloSociety, whose network of social influencers supplies the social marketing arm of the studio; and Fake Love, which specializes in using technology in unique ways and developing one-of-a-kind live experiences.
“Those mind-blowing live activations would’ve been a stretch for us if we didn’t have Fake Love,” said Tomich.
In its latest activation, T Brand partnered with Kia to bring its new Cadenza model to life in a series of three live events, all across the country.