Sony Ericsson, Dell and Esprit are the three headline sponsors of the MTV awards on Nov. 6, held in Liverpool, England, the city designated this year by the European Union as the European Capital of Culture. Each sponsor has crafted a competition to draw young consumers into the awards euphoria -- and position their brand at the center of it.
David Clifton, director of consumer marketing at Dell Europe, said, "MTV Europe Music Awards represents all that is important in pop culture today -- video, music and technology. We have had a blast connecting with audiences online and on the road."
Dell, a first-time sponsor of the awards, launched a competition to find a Dell Red Carpet reporter to cover the awards show. A branded taxi toured nine U.K. cities looking for a winner to work with celebrity blogger Perez Hilton for the red carpet show, broadcast at dell.co.uk/mtv. Hopefuls could also enter the competition via the website.
"MTV still has cachet with young people, who are hungry and desperate for experiential prizes -- things money can't buy," said Philip McNaughton, research director of research and marketing agency Face. "They want to contribute and be part of events: The culture of experience is important to the young."
Long walk to the stage
Sony Ericsson, a returning sponsor, launched a FanWalk competition to find 100 music fans from across Europe prepared to take a nine-day walk from London to Liverpool, a distance of 175 miles. The contestants had to undertake a series of musical challenges along the way, such as busking and playing strange instruments, in a bid to win the ultimate prize, the opportunity to present an award at the ceremony.
Jules Robinson, senior VP of VBS International, Viacom-owned MTV's international sales unit, said, "The level of direct-to-audience sponsorship activity for this year's awards underlines how clearly all three pan-European sponsors understand the MTV audience. Our audience not only loves great music but wants to feel engaged with the event itself."
Esprit's youth clothing brand, EDC, created a "Live Like a Rock Star" promotion. It encouraged young people to upload photos and compete for the chance, with three friends, to be "superstars" for the day.
The prize includes travel to Liverpool in a tour bus, a stay in a luxury hotel suite, backstage passes and a walk down the red carpet, fully styled by EDC.
Global, and growing
Last year more than 30 million people watched the MTV European Music Awards, which is broadcast on 19 channels across Europe as well as in the U.S. and Asia. Web traffic to the MTV European Music Awards websites increased by 35% year-on-year in 2007 to 3 million unique visitors.
Budgets for the sponsorship deals are not disclosed.
The lineup of performers at the Liverpool event includes Beyonce, Pink, Duffy, Kid Rock, Estelle and Kanye West.