Big Marketers Buy Into MTV2 'All That Rocks' Show

Virgin Mobile Brands Rock Club Bathroom as 'Red Room'

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LOS ANGELES -- It's a hard-rocking show at a seedy, soon-to-be-shuttered New York club featuring little-known bands and a "Jackass" alum as host. The Grammys it ain't. And for Virgin Mobile, Subway, General Motors' Pontiac and Slim Jim, it's music to their ears.
For 'All That Rocks,' MTV2 intentionally tried to create an event with a 'stripped-down party atmosphere' instead of the glitzy celebrity-heavy shows on other networks.



The marketers, aiming at the elusive and much-coveted 12- to 24-year-old male, have sealed advertising and brand-integration deals with MTV sibling MTV2 to be woven throughout the upcoming program "All That Rocks."

The show, airing from the Bowery nightclub CBGB and hosted by skateboard pro and Johnny Knoxville pal Bam Margera, will be the cable network's first foray into event programming.

Heavy dose of viewer involvement

Airing Sunday, "All That Rocks" has a heavy dose of viewer involvement, from user-generated videos that will be part of the show to wireless voting on fans' favorite bands. Emerging artists 30 Seconds to Mars (fronted by actor Jared Leto), Lil' Wayne and Angels & Airwaves will perform.

The network is taking a page from flagship MTV by gathering several marketers to prop up "All That Rocks." MTV has been a pioneer in linking young adult-skewing brands to its programming, from the "Video Music Awards" to "Road Rules."

Virgin Mobile, which has had a long-standing relationship with Viacom's MTV networks, has created a "red room" for "All That Rocks" that stands the traditional "green room" on its head. The marketer, instead of dressing up a VIP lounge backstage, has branded the somewhat notorious bathroom at CBGB, complete with red walls, red toilet paper and red-clad bathroom attendants.

"It felt like an appropriate way to participate in this event," said Bob Stohrer, VP-brand and communications, Virgin Mobile. "We think the fans of MTV2 will respond to it, and another sponsor would never want to do it. We get more talk value out of it than sponsoring a backstage room."

Brands intertwined into content

All the integrated partners worked with the network and the show's producers on intertwining their brands into the content. The cameras will peek into the bathroom, for instance, at various points during the show.

Virgin, which has about 4 million subscribers, also will handle wireless voting for the show's categories, including "the almighty king of rock" and "freshest MC."

"We never want to do a sponsorship with billboards and banners," Mr. Stohrer said. "That would make our brand interchangeable with any other brand."

Both Subway and GM are sponsoring specific awards -- "sickest sports moment" and "breaking new band" -- and will have significant on-air exposure around those categories. Pontiac's G6 also will have prime positioning as a vehicle that delivers pretty young model-actress types to the show. There will be several shots of the women arriving at the venue in the sporty cars.

Slim Jim will be part of the scenery via a freshly-painted graffiti logo.

MTV2 executives intentionally tried to create an event with a "stripped-down party atmosphere," said David Cohn, the network's general manager, instead of the glitzy celebrity-heavy shows on other networks. The network, which airs in about 60 million homes, caters to a young, mostly-male demo.

The same rules applied to the integrated brands, which paid undisclosed fees for their ad and integration packages.

'Sponsors are organic to the audience'

"We feel these sponsors are organic to the audience," Mr. Cohn said, "and they bring the same attitude to the show."

MTV2 executives said they intend to make "All That Rocks" an annual on-air event but plan to stoke it during the months in between, encouraging viewers to continue communicating with the cable channel. The budding franchise will have homes on-air, online and on other media platforms.

The network wanted only a handful of sponsors for the first "All That Rocks" but would consider bringing in other categories such as video games, energy drinks and apparel.

Like its competitors, MTV2 has reached out to advertisers with value-added opportunities before, such as its recent co-branded image spots with Sprite. The network will focus on that going forward, Mr. Cohn said, to give marketers more reach for their dollar.

MTV2's music-video-heavy format lends itself to such deals, Mr. Cohn said. The network is home to original programming such as the "$2 Bill Concerts" and "Where My Dogs At?," along with pickups and repurposed shows from MTV such as "Wildboyz" and "Yo Momma."
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