Refinery29‘s new slate of digital content is centered around what it called its theme for the year: “Our Party Is Women.” In case that motto was lost on the crowd during its presentation to advertisers at this year’s NewFronts, which the company held on Wednesday afternoon at Terminal 5 in New York, the sentiment was displayed on multiple screens and hanging from the balconies in the dark, smoke machine-filled cavernous concert venue in New York.
The brand pitched three main avenues of expansion: long-form original scripted and unscripted video content, expanding existing franchises that the company has found successful, and live events — all through the lens of female empowerment.
“This is a simple formula. It’s aligning the right brands with the right actions,” Philippe von Borries, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Refinery29, said before introducing Chloe x Halle, the R&B sister duo who performed their original single “Simple.” Chloe x Halle will be featured in Refinery’s new Instagram-first short film series, UnStyled Fashion Films, which is based off the company’s Instagram hashtag turned newsletter and podcast.
In the company’s high-energy pitch to advertisers, Christene Barberich, global editor in chief, took the stage and connected Refinery29’s positioning to the success of January’s Women’s March. Chief content officer Amy Emmerich followed, hyping up the crowd by elaborating on the feminist-friendly message.
Refinery29 snagged some star power for its new lineup.
Zosia Mamet was on hand, clad in a white jumpsuit, to introduce “Fabled,” a modern fairy-tale anthology series she is producing along with her husband, Evan Jonigkeit. Rashida Jones is an executive producer behind Girly, a docuseries following “girls who refuse to stand on the sidelines as they redefine what it means to stand up, speak out and be trailblazers within their communities.” Willow Smith, is the executive producer of Soundscape, a music video series that “pairs next-gen female filmmakers with rising musicians” as a way get more women into the music industry.
Refinery29 also announced the expansion of Empathy Lab, an experiential data and insights collaboration with Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab, that will work directly with brands.
Evan Rachel Wood and her band, Rebel and a Basketcase, closed the presentation by performing their new song “Today,” which had premiered on Refinery’s web site earlier in the day. The performance was meant to promote a new series called “The Drop,” which will feature music videos from female artists.