ALTHOUGH the target audience for the annual MTV Video Music Awards show is far too young to remember the era when “Keep on truckin’ ” was a mantra, the MTV cable channel is taking the saying to heart by adding to its fleet of production trucks one devoted solely to helping advertisers create marketing content on Sunday before, during and after the 2014 show.
The truck is already operating, MTV executives say, and is parked outside the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., from which the show will be presented live. The executives estimate that 35 to 40 people will work during the show on marketing on the fly, including a director, an assistant director and a producer who will be dedicated solely to ad-related tasks like live commercials.
In recent years, as consumers have ardently embraced social media platforms like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube, advertisers and MTV have significantly stepped up the production and dissemination of marketing-related content during the shows. That is intensifying this year, as symbolized by the marketing-only truck.
“We are really beefing up the infrastructure,” said Stephen K. Friedman, president of MTV, because “our advertiser partners and sponsors want to be part of the conversation.”
They particularly desire to “capitalize on combustible moments” during the show, he added, like the performance last year by Miley Cyrus that generated so much discussion and coverage.
The Cyrus brouhaha gave MTV and sponsors “one of the big learnings” about real-time marketing, Mr. Friedman said: Predicting and preparing for oh-my-God moments can be difficult because live shows have a way of confounding expectations.
“Going in last year, we all thought the moments would be around Justin and ’N Sync,” he added, referring to a reunion of Justin Timberlake and the other members of that boy band. “But it was Miley who blew up social media and culture.”
There is also a lively debate on Madison Avenue over whether real-time marketing is an effective new weapon in the advertising arsenal or a fad that is soon to fade. It is more likely, critics complain, for people who read or comment on marketing-related posts to work in the marketing or media industries rather than be potential buyers of the products.
“We do a lot of work measuring the value of real-time, contextually relevant moments,” said Adam Harter, vice president for partnership engagement of the Pepsi-Cola North American Beverages division of PepsiCo, and have determined that “our creative is more relevant and effective when it’s delivered that way.”
That is particularly true “for the millennial audience” that is the MTV target, Mr. Harter said, “which finds it important to get social currency, something valuable in the moment, that they can share while watching live shows on a TV set with a tablet or mobile phone next to them.”
“As more people strongly associate brand Pepsi with having an impact on music, culture, our brand regard goes up” among consumers, he added. “We used to talk a lot about ‘share of voice,’ how much we’re spending on advertising versus others in our space, but now the way to think about it is winning the share of conversation.”
To stimulate that conversation, the Pepsi-Cola brand, in conjunction with a performance by Usher during the show, will promote in social media the hashtag #UsherNOW. After the performance, Pepsi-Cola and MTV will use a customized commercial to direct viewers to unlock the song Usher sings, from an album as yet unreleased, and give them a look at the making of the performance.
The other sponsors with which MTV, a division of Viacom, is working on real-time marketing initiatives are Verizon Wireless; Unilever, for three brands, Caress, Degree Women and TRESemmé; Kia; and CoverGirl, a Procter & Gamble brand that is the subject of a video clip, bearing the hashtag #instaglam.
Because the Video Music Awards are a creation of MTV as well as a show on the channel, “We’re able to do longer lead-ups, with a lot of content, before the show, and we’re able to bring all our platforms to the table,” said Rachel Baumgarten, senior vice president for integrated marketing of the Viacom Velocity Music Group division of Viacom. Those include mtv.com and the MTV accounts on platforms like Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter.
The ownership of the awards also helps MTV as it is “weaving our partners into the editorial story of the show,” Ms. Baumgarten said, pairing sponsors with stars like Iggy Azalea, Beyoncé, Rita Ora and Usher.
A long list of other advertisers will be busily sending real-time marketing messages before, during and after the show. For instance, 5 gum, sold by the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, is using six agencies — including Energy BBDO, Firstborn and StellarEngine — to introduce on the show a Truth or Dare promotion centered on the young singer Austin Mahone; the brand and MTV asked fans to “dare” him to turn up at the awards in an over-the-top way by submitting requests in social media using the hashtags #5TruthOrDare and #DareAustin.
“As one of the most watched and culturally relevant events of the year, we saw the MTV V.M.A.s as a great opportunity to launch” the promotion, said Caroline M. Sherman, U.S. manager for marketing communications at Wrigley, part of Mars.
There will also be efforts for Mountain Dew, another soft drink sold by Pepsi-Cola North American Beverages, and for “The Maze Runner,” a film from 20th Century Fox featuring Dylan O’Brien, a star of the MTV series “Teen Wolf.”
By Stuart Elliott
Fonte: The New York Times