What the MTV Video Music Awards Show us About Creating Buzz

by / ⠀Finding Customers Startup Advice / September 15, 2010

The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards were aired this past Sunday. The event is big in the music scene but also draws a big audience from the younger generation. If you watched the awards you were sure to notice that at times the artists, hosts and producers just seem plain crazy with what goes on. But there is a reason behind this and a reason why MTV likes it this way because it really does grasp the idea of creating buzz and getting people talking about every aspect of the show. While you and your company don’t have to go as far as many parts of the VMAs do it is important to understand that marketing and PR teams are a major factor in building an event like this to get the buzz it does. So maybe you don’t take all but taking some lessons back to your company will help create some of that buzz you are looking for.

Be Outlandish – Lady Gaga

A meat dress? Yea she wore that amongst other odd, weird and crazy outfits throughout the night. But it does one big thing, it gets people talking. Not only about herself but about the VMAs which is where she wore it. MTV loves this because every media outlet on earth was buzzing the next day about her. By putting herself out on the edge over and over again Lady Gaga has produced 100x more buzz over her music than she would have if she dressed “normally”. MTV’s embraces this because it gets them attention also and not to mention the many other odd, weird and crazy outfits that people wear to the VMAs.

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Know that in your business pushing things to the edge and making yourself a little uncomfortable will go a long way in learning your audience and defining your brand.

lady gaga 2010 MTV Video Music Awards

Celebrate Controversy – Taylor Swift and Kanye West

Last year at the VMAs Kanye West caused a huge stir by interrupting Taylor Swift accepting an award and saying someone else should have won (seen below). So of course this year both were performing at the show and even better both had songs that mentioned and refereed to what had happened the year before. Even if it wasn’t for the songs there was no way MTV was not going to try and get both on stage throughout the show because of what happened. Now they are probably working on both performing together for next year to take the buzz to an even higher level.

Know that controversy in your business can be a good thing. Don’t shy away, instead address it and even applaud it. Your fans will love it and your critics will respect it.

Talk about what’s hot – Jersey Shore

What was the Jersey Shore nominated for? What did it win? Nothing! But it was a huge part of the show. The cast was in the pre-show, numerous skits during the show and presented an award. The hit show is one of the biggest things on MTV right now so they brought them into the VMAs even though they have nothing to do with music. People want to see them and hear them so the VMAs gave everyone what they wanted.

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Think about what is already buzzing in your industry. Your audience wants to hear about that so find a way to tie in that big buzz to your company.

jersey shore 2010 mtv video music awards

Getty Images

Jump on social trends – VMAs using Twitter Board

The VMA’s created a whole Twitter board exclusively for the event. It tracked the hottest trending topics around the event for the whole show and still is today. Throughout the show it was mentioned and people were encouraged to jump into the conversation. What value did it add? Probably not much at all. Did it get viewers who had not been on their Twitter accounts in months signing in just to be a part of it? Sure did! It was just another method the show used to get people talking about everything going on even if it really did add much value anywhere.

Find fun things to do that piggy back on hot social trends. Don’t use twitter? Maybe your company launches a 1 week twitter contest or campaign just to jump on the trend.

Create a Hook – Eminem’s “comeback”

The most important thing with an event is to get people watching from the 1st minute, not just tuning in at the end to see the big awards. The VMAs brought in one of the biggest hip-hop artists of all time to do this and framed it as his comeback to the music scene. The hook is extremely important for any company because you have to get people to you before you can even try to do anything else.

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Think about how you get people to your site, store, event etc. What is that hook that gets people there and excited for your venture?

Photo: Vince Bucci/PictureGroup

Bring out the legends – Cher to announce final award

To top it all off bring out one of the most controversy and well known figures in the industry to announce an award. In this instance not only does Cher fit the legend category but she also fits the first point of being outlandish (note her outfit). Also the VMAs had a dream match in 2010 by having the award go to Lady Gaga. As you can tell from the picture below the media, bloggers and just about anyone had a thousand things to talk about.

Think about who you can use in your industry that would create a buzz because they are well known. If you associate your brand with someone well respected in the industry your brand will look positive.

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