Former CBS Late Night host Craig Ferguson is doing a YouTube show about life's big questions -- and it's being funded by a fashion brand

Screen Shot 2017 09 18 at 3.38.09 PMGANTCraig Ferguson and his wife Megan Ferguson.
  • Fashion brand GANT is launching its biggest ad campaign to date: a show on YouTube.
  • “Couple Thinkers” stars former Late Late Show host and comedian Craig Ferguson and his wife Megan Ferguson as they tackle some “big life questions” like space and time.
  • The aim is to get broader global awareness.

Fashion retailer GANT is launching its biggest advertising campaign in history. But instead of investing in a series of glossy magazine ads, the 70 year-old retailer is opting for an long-form show on YouTube that it is presenting, but that otherwise has no obvious GANT branding.

“Couple Thinkers” is a six episode-long, non-scripted show starring former Late Late Show host and comedian Craig Ferguson and his wife Megan Ferguson. It features the couple travel around the world (in GANT clothing, of course), exploring topics they have always wondered about but have never had the chance to explore, until now.

Each episode attempts to tackle some of life’s largest questions around topics such as space, sustainability and the human brain, with expert guests including Kimbal Musk, Jon Ronson and Arianna Huffington. The show premieres on Oct. 9, 2017, and will be available across 70 different countries.

“To be a leading brand in the future, consumers need to understand why your brand exists,” said GANT CEO Patrik Nilsson. “Our why is ‘Never Stop Learning,’ and this TV show is a great example of that.”

The show not only remains true to the brand’s values, but also enables it to break through the clutter and boost brand awareness, added Eleonore Säll, GANT’s global marketing director. It’s hard to do that on the back of just traditional advertising today, she said.

“Our aim is that this show will increase long-term brand awareness globally, including in the US, which is a very important market for us,” she told Business Insider. “So, we wanted to create content that will have a life on its own, earn awareness and not be dependent only on media spend.”

Still, the show will be supported by over 150 different forms of media in the form of images, GIFs, pre-roll ads and video snippets across digital channels including Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. The show’s concept was developed by GANT’s 21 member-strong in-house marketing team, and produced in collaboration with Zodiak Factory & Mastiff, part of the Banijay Group.

GANT is hardly the first brand to go down this route, with brands including MorningStar Farms, MAC Cosmetics and Kleenex investing in their own “unbranded” shows and documentaries in recent years. But GANT is setting a precedent in the fashion world, said Tony King, co-founder and CEO at luxury ad agency King & Partners.

“I’ve not seen many other brands in the fashion space try this, but it’s exactly what consumers today are looking for,” he told Business Insider. “When a brand can hang their hat on intelligent, interesting content, and not be too ‘salesy’ in their approach to marketing, it works.”

Moreover for GANT, it is part of a broader shift by the brand toward digital, a move it embarked on two years ago. While a majority of GANT’s marketing efforts until then were traditionally-focused on mostly TV and print, the bulk (80%) of its marketing now is digital. The company has also altered its internal structure, doing away with its digital marketing department, for instance, because digital drives everything.

It has set up a brand strategy department inspired by digital agencies, for example, with its own planners and brand managers and a public relations & social media team, which handles both press and influencer campaigns. It also has an in-house creative team with an art director, graphic designers and editorial content for its in-house magazine “The Lookout.

“This is definitely part of our brand’s evolution to become digitally-led,” said Säll. “Consumers today want content that is genuine and interesting, and they want it where they are. This enables us to meet them there.”

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