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November 1, 2023 | By Parker Herren

Spooky season begone! As consumers are packing up their pumpkins, retail brands have already begun to deck their halls with holiday goods as the fight for seasonal shoppers creeps continually earlier each year. But more than just unleashing yuletide stock into stores, some retailers are taking an active role in spreading holiday cheer through shoppable content on connected TV.

The Home Depot may not fuel its Halloween marketing with paid media, but the retailer is doing quite the opposite for the holidays—and making its campaign a must-stream. “Merry & Bright” is a festive home reno show starring “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks. The singer guides families through revamping their homes to be worthy of a visit from Kris Kringle. The series includes three 10-minute episodes as well as short-form additions featuring tips from Sparks. “Merry & Bright” was produced by Vizio, and is now streaming on its CTV platform.

The Nov. 1 launch for the series was a particularly important selling point for Home Depot because “our customers are starting to shop earlier and earlier, and decorating, celebrating and prepping for all the holidays earlier,” said Christine Reed, director of media at Home Depot. “We wanted to make sure that we were in market with this type of content series and our media weight in November, shifting that up from December.”

Periodically throughout the series, QR codes for each episode’s home makeover will direct users to curated pages on the Home Depot website that will feature products consumers can use to achieve the same look.

Reed said “Merry & Bright” will serve as a test for investing further in branded content as Home Depot evaluates “how customers are going to interact with this content and how they’re going to drive results as a part of interacting with this content.” Shoppability is crucial to this aspect of the partnership with Vizio not just for proving direct sales. The partners will also track the overall rate of interaction and behaviors such as the point in each episode that consumers felt most inclined to scan, and be able to retarget those consumers across Home Depot’s marketing.

“Merry & Bright” will stream through Dec. 31, and will be featured on the Vizio home screen’s hero carousel throughout its run. The series will also be promoted through targeted ad breaks in other Vizio content and will stream on YouTube and social media as well.

The partnership was negotiated by Home Depot’s media agency OMD and executed with the agency’s content marketing division, The Content Collective.

For its part, Vizio has been looking to boost its branded content production capabilities as well. In May, the CTV company announced the launch of the Vizio Branded Content Studio aligned with its NewFronts presentation.

“We’ve done a great job over the last four years of leveraging sponsorship opportunities on the home screen … [ad products] that are turnkey ‘sponsor presents,’ but the new content studio is a chance for brands to really be inside the content to become the entertainment,” said Katlyn Wilson, director of branded content sales and strategy at Vizio. Counter to what some marketers may think, Wilson said creating the series was not a “slow, long, arduous, long-lead-time difficult process.” Although Vizio had been in conversation with Home Depot since early 2023, “the actual go date to the time that it’s live is around 90 days,” said Wilson.