Back in March, JungleCents co-founders Sameer Mehta and Nadir Hyder sold their startup’s assets to its primary investor, Mark Cuban, and announced a new venture: A lifestyle company called 12Society. The most important lesson the co-founders learned from JungleCents, they said at the time, was that the key to great marketing and high conversion rates is “smart, editorial-driven content.”
Makes sense. Yet, when they announced that San Francisco Giants star pitcher Tim Lincecum was joining 12Society as a co-founder and that other celebrities and star athletes would soon follow, another lesson emerged. The (real) best way to ensure engagement and conversion? Convince big-time influencers to become the voices and brands behind your content. Brands will salivate.
12Society has been in stealth mode since March and has quietly built a star studded roster of co-founders, one that now includes LA Clippers Rookie Of The Year Blake Griffin, actor/comedian Nick Cannon, Tim Lincecum, former New York Giant Michael Strahan, Minnesota Timberwolves All Star Kevin Love, and rapper/actor superstar Nas.
Today, the startup is officially pulling back the curtain, launching an online lifestyle platform and product subscription service that aims to create a better way for brands to engage with the 18- to 35-year-old male demographic and get them talking about and sharing their products.
As to how it’s going to work: 12Society gives subscribers access to the lifestyles of these ballers for $39/month in the form of a box in the mail, containing four to six “premium products from tech, fashion, apparel, and athletics” — all of which have been “hand-picked” by the co-founders, or the “style board” as they’re being called.
Beyond this monthly care package of bro bait, 12Society will be leaning hard on its blog, where the co-founders have agreed to provide an inside and honest look at what “propels, inspires and engages them.”
In the big picture, when it comes to the “box of the month” model, 12Society has plenty of competition in the men’s department. There’s Bespoke Post and the design-focused Quarterly, and umpteen more.
Obviously, 12society has a different tack, but they’re similar in that each is attempting to bring users inspiring items from people they care about. It’s a good idea, and one that works, but, as always, the proof is in the pudding. It’s nice to think that we’ll get a real, honest look inside an athlete’s life, what motivates and inspires them.
But these are busy guys, and the opportunity for fluff is high. If they spend time creating their blog posts, etc., the more time guys like me will follow along and engage. But the 18 to 35-year-old demographic is highly sensitive to shilling. Yes, we secretly want to emulate our heroes, but that doesn’t mean I want to buy the brand of soft drink they like. Most guys (I hope) could give two *bleeps* about that, hence the swing-and-miss nature of 99 percent of modern advertising.
The JungleCents co-founders understand this, as do the co-founders. As long as they understand that by saying that 12society is introducing a new way for brands to gain attraction for fans, that really this is an old model, and that it’s a slippery slope, then 12society is going to be as big as the co-founders backing it.
I mean, collectively, the six co-founders have millions of Twitter followers and Facebook fans. That’s social reach that anyone and everyone would kill to be able to leverage to promote just about everything.
12society may not be an earth shatteringly disruptive model, but I’m still eager to see what the team produces. It will be interesting to watch.
The startup is currently backed by Groupon co-founders (and Lightbank founding partners) Eric Lefkofsky, Brad Keywell and Paul Lee (who is only a co-founder of the latter, by the way) as well as Diego Berdakin, the co-founder of venture-backed social commerce startup, BeachMint.