The non-profit organization New Venture Fund (NVF) approached ad agency SS+K with an unusual goal: to develop a concept that uses comedy to help Millennials discover little known aspects of life in Israel, including its technology savviness, environmentalism and a pretty wild nightlife. The D.C.-based organization provides both grant-making support and develops its own projects to create social and environmental change and this particular project wanted to capture and share the spirit of Israel through entertainment.
Since today's Millennial now spends more time watching digital media than watching TV, NVF and SS+K are introducing Hamburger Hummus, a seven-episode Web series that shadows a group of All-American bloggers at a fictional conference in Tel Aviv, Israel.
SS+K developed the creative and then brought in production company Stun Creative, digital shop Tool, post-production shop Wax, music service agency MAS, and music studio Heard City. SS+K also created Web-specific headlines for native advertising content, part of the media strategy created by SS+K’s media partner, Noble People.
The series attracted top level
talent including director Jay Karas (Workaholics, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and actresses Angel
The show is available on Viacom/MTV, Nativo and TriVu Networks, in addition to YouTube. The webisodes and bonus content blogs from the characters - including hashtag feed from the fictional blog conference -- can also be viewed on a Web site which serves as the platform for the show.
“Israel is a great stage for a comedy about people meeting for the first time and getting into that fun trouble that only happens when you’re overseas.” says Bobby Hershfield, chief creative officer, partner at SS+K. "It comes with its own surprises that add to the irreverent mashup of some rubes from Middle America meeting up with contemporary Israelis."
Although the concept may be multinational, the target demographic and talent are all American. Ultimately, SS+K hopes Hamburger Hummus improves international relations. "In the grubbiest sense, we'll measure success by views, but hoping that over time it sparks people to begin to think of Israel in broader terms than they do today," says Mark Kaminsky, partner and co-founder, SS+K. "Maybe this one series will not accomplish that alone, but we hope it'll encourage others to find ways to convey a fuller picture of modern Israeli life and culture and to do it in interesting ways."
This is the first time SS+K has done a Web series comedy, although the agency has created the video Awkward Family Viewing for HBO to promote HBO Go and most recently, #JetSpree for Jet.com.
The NVF supports about 150 charitable organizations falling into four categories: health, education, environment, and other. Its revenue in 2013 was $112.9 million and the group spent $729,429 on advertising and promotions. This project falls under its "other" categories which spent $18.3 million on endeavors in 2013, according to its most recent Form 990.