With the Help of Brands Like Taco Bell, MTV Expands Its Snapchat Play for VMAs

MTV Expects Lots of Snapchat Usage During the VMAs

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Taco Bell will air a video on Snapchat during the VMAs promoting its Live Mas scholarship.

MTV will be leaning heavily on Snapchat during the Video Music Awards this weekend, creating content in conjunction with big-name sponsors like Taco Bell and Trojan Brand Condoms.

The co-branded Taco Bell and VMAs geofilter.
The co-branded Taco Bell and VMAs geofilter. Credit: MTV

The Viacom network won't just rely on snaps from fans and celebrities, as it has done during other tentpole events, but is also producing images, videos and other content for the platform.

This is the first time MTV has produced content to run within a Live Story, said Chris Ficarra, exec VP-Viacom Velocity, the company's content marketing arm.

Snapchat Live Stories have historically been populated by content from fans and talent, but this year MTV is giving users access to places fans don't typically get to go, like backstage or on stage.

MTV will create two Live Stories tied to the music bonanza. The first will post in the 24 hours leading up to the show and will include a mix of throwback content and a look at the road to this year's show.

The second will build during the live broadcast on Sunday and will include performances (Britney Spears is performing at the VMAs for the first time in nine years), acceptance speeches and other moments from Madison Square Garden.

Taco Bell, Trojan Condoms, Orbit gum, Verizon and the Truth anti-smoking campaign will run ads in the Live Stories and worked with MTV to produce other Snapchat content.

Taco Bell, for example, will advertise its new Cheesy Core Burrito and a taco t-shirt fans can purchase. It will also promote its Live Mas scholarship with a video that will be featured on MTV's Snapchat Discover Channel.

Taco Bell will host a live pre-VMA concert on Saturday that will be captured on Snapchat.

Trojan commissioned artists to create condom-inspired artwork that will be featured on Snapchat during the VMAs.
Trojan commissioned artists to create condom-inspired artwork that will be featured on Snapchat during the VMAs. Credit: MTV

And there will be a co-branded Taco Bell and VMAs geofilter created by a Live Mas scholarship recipient.

Taco Bell worked with MTV on Snapchat for the VMAs last year. "From a numbers perspective, we saw great over-delivery in impressions and video completion rates, but most importantly, our fans were engaged in uniquely Taco Bell content within the VMAs," said David Garcia, digital media manager, Taco Bell, in an email.

Trojan has commissioned two artists to pair up with clinical sexologist Shannon Boodram and YouTube star, Josh Leyva, who have been working to normalize the conversation around condoms, to develop original works of art inspired by Trojan condoms. Viewers will get to watch the evolution of their exhibition through the Snapchat VMA Live Story.

Orbit will air three ads created by Viacom Velocity, which will promote the VMA Professional Categories to highlight the importance of the people behind-the-scenes of music videos.

For Truth, MTV helped create three ads with "Teen Wolf" star Holland Roden.

It's been a year since MTV first partnered with Snapchat. And in February, parent company Viacom struck a deal with the social platform allowing it to sells ads on behalf of Snapchat. It just so happens that Snapchat's new head of global ad sales is Jeff Lucas, Viacom's former head of ad sales.

Snapchat was certainly an important part of MTV's pitch to advertisers for the VMAs. While most TV networks are grappling with ratings declines, MTV has been especially vulnerable because of its younger-skewing audience, which is more prone to consume content on devices that have been difficult to measure and make money from.

The 2015 Video Music Awards were watched by 9.8 million people across 10 Viacom networks, down 3% from the year prior. Where it did see a bump was on social media, with the VMAs becoming the most tweeted non-sports program, according to Nielsen.

And MTV's Live Story on Snapchat drew 12 million unique viewers, according to the ocmpany.

It could see many more viewers turn to Snapchat if recent tallies are any indication. MTV's Live Story "Isle of MTV" in June delivered 20 million unique viewers, a network spokesman said.

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