Thrillist Announces Launch of New BBQ Vertical, Grillist
Folio: sits down with Jody Rones to discuss new vertical dedicated to grilling.
Thrillist has announced the launch of ‘Grillist,’ a new vertical dedicated to grilling, which will be live on its website from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
In conjunction with the launch, Thrillist, partnering with Miller Lite, will host a Backyard BBQ event series. These barbecues will transform urban spaces in six cities across the nation into the “Thrillist x Miller Lite Backyard,” where videos and photos for the vertical will be shot.
“We’re extremely excited to not only go deeper into a category that we now our readers care so much about, but also to be able to partner with a brand like Miller Lite on such a unique program,” Jody Rones, SVP advertising sales and solutions, said in a press release.
Grillist will provide Thrillist’s audience with tips, recipes, and all things necessary to enjoy the upcoming summer—and the grill—in their backyard. Content will range from the best marinades on the market to tips from nationally recognized meat experts, and more.
Rones tells Folio: that the publication began exploring the idea of a vertical focused on grilling at the end of last summer. The decision was based on data measuring audience engagement with Thrillist content, which revealed, “grilling is center stage for our audience.”
In February of this year, Miller Lite approached Thrillist, and the two companies found they had a “mutual desire to elevate the backyard experience and specifically to put the grill at the forefront,” Rones said.
In addition, Thrillist wanted to expand upon their events portfolio and reach their audience in a more direct way, creating custom branded content with Miller Lite.
As such, Miller Lite and Thrillist have created a backyard set in Queens. There they will shoot four videos, two of which will be integrated with the brand and two that will not, also to be shared on social media.
Some of this branded content may also include videos and photos from the live events throughout the summer, Rones explained. These visuals will be shared on social media to recap each event and let attendees re-live the night, and also to potentially attract a new audience.
Social media is “increasingly more valuable today than five to ten years ago, because, beyond reaching people at the event, we can reach four to five million more people on social,” Rones explained.
The first BBQ event was held in LA last week and the next will take place in Austin, followed by Nashville, New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
Through these events, as well as the online content, the publication wants to promote the idea that “the grill is the centerpiece of the backyard […] it’s the essence of summer.”
That is part of the reason why Grillist is an “in season” vertical, as a fair amount of their audience can only grill in the summer. Rones confirmed that the vertical will return next summer.
The launch of Grillist comes in the wake of other vertical expansions since Thrillist’s conception. The company started as a daily lifestyle newsletter in 2005, and over the years has become an online content network reaching 16 million unique web visitors, with more than 75 offline events produced annually.
In 2008, Thrillist launched JackThreads, a men’s online shopping site that expanded the company into the e-commerce world.
Thrillist announced Thrillist Travel, a year-round vertical dedicated to travel, in 2013. On top of that, the brand added an additional 40+ markets that year alone.
The new Grillist vertical is in line with the brand’s long-time strategy. “We at Thrillist have been focused on expanding our vertical strategy,” said Rones. New verticals may be year-round or seasonal, like Grillist, but above all, he emphasized the importance of maintaining Thrillist’s core identity.
“In all of our vertical extensions, we first and foremost want to make sure it’s content they [the audience] like,” he explained.