BuzzFeed listicles have given way to BuzzFeed product partnerships.
This time, Goodful, a two-year-old BuzzFeed media brand centered around health and wellness, is partnering with Macy’s to release a line of 100 products all geared around items for the home.
Starting Oct. 24, the items will become available at Macy’s 400 stores and its website. This is the latest bricks-and-clicks play from BuzzFeed, after announcing a similar partnership in May between its Tasty brand and Walmart. Both are part of BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s vision for generating more diverse revenue sources.
“We’re proud of the partnership because it shows what a modern media company can pull off with a modern retailer,” said Ben Kaufman, head of commerce at BuzzFeed. “This is something that BuzzFeed can uniquely do—especially pull a program in this way and launch in the speed and efficiency in which we have launched it.”
Both Macy’s and BuzzFeed are in transition mode. The latter, facing financial headwinds, has explored various ways of bringing in money. The company that defined the “native advertising” model at the early part of the decade has changed its thinking, adding in programmatic buying to the mix. It’s also gone Hollywood, creating a movie studio, as it splinters its news reporting away from its bread and butter, the listicle.
Macy’s, for its part, is trying to keep up with the winds of change—most notably Amazon. The 160-year-old retailer has slashed tens of thousands of jobs and shuttered more than 100 stores in the past 18 months as part of a growth strategy that is anchored in tech.
For example, the company has invested in cashierless technology, as well as augmented and virtual reality apps and experiences.
With both companies staring down the barrel of irrelevancy, a relationship was born. The courtship began in January and includes four different licensing partners: Epoca, which will handle houseware items (and was the partner for the Tasty and Walmart partnership); Welspun for bedding items; Cuisinart for home electronics; and Aerogarden for an in-home gardening system. Goodful had a hand in the design color and material of the products.
BuzzFeed will get a share of royalties when products are purchased, which Kaufman declined to share the exact percentage of, but did say “There’s no secret that this is a licensing partnership.”
Kaufman added, “We wanted to work with a department store where we could bring the brand to life in a really holistic way. That’s something you can’t do in a mass merchant and that’s a perfect thing to do in a department store like Macy’s.”
According to Nielsen’s digital content ratings, Goodful, which reaches more than 45 million people a month, was created to give its readers more health and wellness content. The product line is aligned with the Goodful brand as it’s all designed with some link to self-care or wellbeing.
BuzzFeed also used data insights on Goodful content to decide which items were best to design and debut with the product line, such as seeing a growing trend in home gardening and deciding to make the “best, most cost-efficient home garden system” with the Aerogarden, said Kaufman.
To go along with the release of the product line, a stand-alone Goodful website will also debut on Oct. 24, complete with new photography, typography and content that will go with what consumers see in-store. It’s still an editorial-first site, but will feature some of the Goodful products in posts “where it makes sense,” Kaufman said.
Melinda Lee, BuzzFeed’s chief content officer, said these posts won’t read like branded content. However, branded content will appear both on Macy’s website and on BuzzFeed, which will show off the products, mostly in video format.
For Macy’s, this is yet another part of the retailer experimenting with different concepts to lure younger customers into its stores.
“This is the perfect marriage where trend and opportunity really come together,” said Roberson Keffer, vp fashion director, home at Macy’s. “The Goodful customer and who their brand is and who they attract is synergistic with the Macy’s consumer. The audience Goodful [has] and how they can speak to somebody is exciting for customer acquisition and bringing our brand into focus along with theirs.”
As part of the in-store experience, select Macy’s stores will include an Instagrammable wall in the Goodful area. There will also be an experiential event at the Macy’s Herald Square location in New York with giveaways. Lee shared that it’ll be an event where people can ask questions about wellness and health while trying all these different items.
“They want to learn more and this is just another way to get that information out there,” Lee said. “That’s just another great area where you see a brand that is strong and has loyalty, Purchase power and showing up somewhere—I think all of that is something that’s testament to the audience that’s passionate about mindfulness and wellbeing.”
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