Last night millions of people gathered around their TVs for one of the biggest television events of the year – MTV’s Video Music Awards. Before the show even started, my Twitter feed was blowing up with comments on what celebrities were wearing and who was expected to perform this year. I wasn’t surprised when I saw that companies such as Pepsi-Cola and Covergirl had campaigns linked with the show and celebrities as well.
It’s no secret that in recent years, social media platforms have grown in importance for marketing. Marketing-related content has surged as viewers are sharing their opinions and comments in live time on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. After Miley Cyrus’ performance at last years VMA’s, social media blew up and discussion and coverage about her performance continued for weeks to come. The great amount of publicity generated for the young star did not go unnoticed by MTV. This year, MTV has taken full advantage of this real-time marketing effect by incorporating companies into the content of the show as well as pairing sponsors with celebrities like Rita Ora and Usher.
A prime example of real-time marketing from last night was the campaign involving the pairing of Pepsi-Cola and Usher. Pepsi promoted the hashtag #UsherNOW, related to a performance put on by the R&B artist, who debuted his new track “Believe Me”. After the performance, a commercial lead viewers to a promotional website where they were able to download the new song, which is a part of an album that is unreleased. Offering viewers involvement in the campaign and access to content that they otherwise would not have been aware of is the essence of this kind of marketing. Pepsi is benefiting from this campaign as well – it is becoming associated with having an impact on music and culture and its brand regard is increasing. The collaboration between Pepsi and Usher is just one of many that were a part of the VMAs. It will be interesting to see how the success of real-time marketing during events like the VMAs will affect marketing campaigns to come.