With credits that include writing for and appearing on Comedy Central's politically incorrect programs Crank Yankers
and The Man Show
and creating the even more politically incorrect Minoriteam
, Adam de la Peña may not seem like an obvious choice to create branded entertainment. But Sierra Mist is betting that his irreverent sensibility will set just the right tone for its animated Web series, On the Bubble
The series, which consists of two- to three-minute segments posted each Wednesday for at least 30 episodes, features students at the fictional Middle Town Community College broadcasting a satirical news show - with regular features such as "My Bad" and "What the Hell?" - out of a dorm room.
Don't expect to see the student anchors guzzling Sierra Mist. In fact, the soft drink is nowhere to be seen - at least in the first several episodes. "It's not product placement," de la Peña told an audience at Comic-Con San Diego in July. As if to head off accusations of a sell-out, de la Peña praised Sierra Mist for allowing his team "to work together in a really free environment."
Sierra Mist hired branded-entertainment content studio Medium to recruit talent for the show. De la Peña heads up a team that includes digital animation studio Worldwide Biggies. Sierra Mist brand manager Ron Pence says de la Peña has artistic freedom - up to a point. "It needs to be in an appropriate comedy space for the brand," he explains.
"They're encouraging us to push the envelope," de la Peña says. "Will there be a breaking point? I'm sure there will be."