Home Advertiser Jägermeister And The Roku Brand Studio Co-Produce “The Lesbian Bar Project”

Jägermeister And The Roku Brand Studio Co-Produce “The Lesbian Bar Project”


What do lesbians and Jägermeister liqueur have in common?

A TV show on The Roku Channel, apparently.

On Thursday, Roku premiered “The Lesbian Bar Project” in New York City, a docuseries chronicling lesbian-owned bars scattered across the country. The three-episode miniseries was co-produced by German liqueur company Mast-Jägermeister and Roku’s Brand Studio.

“Consider Jägermeister an executive producer – they were very involved in production,” Brian Toombs, director and head of content at Roku Brand Studio, told AdExchanger.

Jägermeister is the title sponsor of the show and worked with Roku Brand Studio to plan product placement and references to the brand throughout the show.

The new series demonstrates the type of content brands can create native to streaming channels and beyond traditional ad spots, Toombs said.

Jägermeister was a supporter of the original Lesbian Bar Project, a filmmaker-led initiative to tell the story of a real-world trend of lesbian-owned bars disappearing from city scenes. Jägermeister released a single PSA on YouTube in 2021 as part of a pandemic-spurred marketing initiative to raise money for LGBTQ night scenes.

Now, Jägermeister is the title sponsor of the three episodes airing on The Roku Channel next week, on National Coming Out Day.

Streaming the project at scale through a major studio and content distributor like Roku means “millions of people will now see stories about the importance of keeping safe spaces alive,” said Stacy Lentz, co-owner of the Stonewall Inn, the site of the ’60s gay rights protests, at the screening.

Tell it to me straight

The docuseries has roots in art and culture, love and loss. But don’t forget the current release is a content branding play.


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Jägermeister worked with Roku Brand Studio throughout the show’s production on strategic product placement and integrations, including scripted references like, “I brought you your favorite Jäger cocktail!”

Jägermeister products or branding appear five to 10 instances per episode, and Lea DeLaria, the show’s host, conspicuously drinks a Jäger cocktail in every episode’s preluding intro scene.

The German booze purveyor also gets a shiny “Presented by Jägermeister” banner on the title and credit frames.

But there’s more branding than meets the eye, and Roku expects the co-marketing boost to bring new audiences to The Roku Channel, too.

Jägermeister and Roku are both promoting the new series heavily on social media. Roku is also recommending the show to viewers on The Roku Channel.

Aside from banner or content tile ads on the home screen, The Roku Channel recommends the show to users with relevant viewing behaviors like, say, a preference for documentaries or LGBTQ content. Roku cited an uptick in docuseries consumption on The Roku Channel over the summer when the studio announced it would produce “The Lesbian Bar Project.”

Jägermeister is marketing the new series beyond Roku screens. On Thursday, the company launched a branded metaverse experience on Decentraland, a browser-based virtual reality platform. Players can walk around a bar with Jägermeister drinks and branding, and interact with photos on the wall to read more about the history of lesbian-owned bars. (Not everyone can claim to have the metaverse’s first lesbian bar.)

Jägermeister also worked with the Library of Congress (seriously) on a branded outfitting for tour buses the company will take to Phoenix and Houston, the other two cities where a screening will premiere before the docuseries is released next Tuesday. (New York City parking, amirite?)

Les-be real

The Roku Channel’s “The Lesbian Bar Project” is branded content sponsored by Jägermeister.

But the level of creative involvement in production from a marketer will guide how Roku expects to collaborate with other brands in the future.

The Roku Brand Studio helps brands market with creative ad placements, such as product placement and brand integration. Roku launched the studio last year, right about when it started getting serious about original content production. Unsurprisingly, Roku works more closely with marketers on creative ad integrations for Roku Originals.

But most brands don’t arrive with their own plans to produce an entire show.

“The Lesbian Bar Project” can’t be considered “Original” by Roku standards since it’s branded content. But it’s a testament to how far a brand is willing to go to tell a story, said David Eilenberg, head of Originals at Roku.

Right now, marketers are experimenting with new ways to engage with their audiences, Eilenberg said, from focusing on creative earlier in the media planning process all the way to underwriting shows.

Advertisers are looking for more sophisticated packages with “multiple messaging touch points” to resonate with their audiences frequently and effectively, he added. “That’s why more brands will start to gravitate toward narrative shows.”

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