Rising Stars: Alex Hopson Cooks up the Content That Major Brands Consume
Alex Hopson hadn’t originally set his sights on the magazine industry. There were, however, several brands that he really wanted the opportunity to work with. Coming from a content production background, he wanted the chance to create content for his audience on behalf of other brands.
For the 29-year-old associate director of branded content and integrated marketing at Condé Nast’s The Food Innovation Group (FIG), two of those brands were Bon Appétit and Epicurious. Branded content wasn’t a new concept at the time but the business “was eons behind where it’s at now in terms of publishers involvement and role in content development and creative work,” he says.
Hopson came to FIG after a three-year stint as a producer at InTheMO, a small video production company and digital agency. Having written a few treatments, he was able to parlay that experience into an integrated marketing position at Men’s Health where he worked for almost two years before he joined FIG in 2014 as senior manager of integrated marketing.
Since joining the company, Hopson has had several wins. Among them have been working with a team to create the launch video content for a new Pepsi sub-brand (this was FIG’s first white-label content-only deal). He’s also a part of the team that works with Chase Sapphire on its presenting sponsorship of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit.
“This is an exciting time for FIG because it has become self-evident that food is one of the few things that connects us all,” Hopson says. “And more importantly, people are just more into food and food culture than ever before. People are going on vacations to explore authentic cooking classes abroad and making travel plans based solely on food attractions in the area.”
He also works on Epicurious, which is also a part of FIG. The digital-native brand has quickly become a destination for aspiring cooks to learn the fundamentals. Hopson notes that this type of engagement has become a huge value proposition for advertisers and partners and “now that publishers have a greater role in creating content and experiences, the publisher-reader relationship can be of even greater value,” he says.
For 2017, he’s working on a host of exciting content pitches, as well as another exciting Chase Sapphire partnership. But Hopson tells min his immediate goals are to produce a brand-led documentary, create new types of food storytelling through VR, and strive to make more meaningful branded content.
But at the end of the day, he says it’s just nice to know that as our worlds get ever more connected and plugged-in, “it still takes an hour to cook a chicken recipe.”