Toyota, Coors and Burger King take new approach to MTV’s Video Music Awards
ViacomCBS sold out of ad time in its reimagined Video Music Awards, attracting new brand sponsors including Molson Coors and Burger King.
The live music awards show, which airs Sunday, will feature performances taking place in various locations throughout New York City.
This marks the first VMAs ViacomCBS is hosting since the merger of the two companies late last year. The VMAs will be simulcast on MTV and The CW as ViacomCBS looks to boost the popularity of the award show, which has been declining in recent years. Last year’s show saw a 6 percent decline in ratings among adults 18-49 and was watched by 4.9 million total viewers, down from the 5.2 million who tuned in in 2018.
MTV was able to increase its marketing partners by 40 percent this year, says Karen Phillips, exec VP, convergent sales, ViacomCBS.
Burger King will advertise for the first time in VMAs, with plans to announce a new tech-infused program, Phillips says. This is the first time Burger King will run ads in the awards show, with Taco Bell having previously been the category sponsor.
Toyota will look to reach Hispanic audiences with the first Spanish-language integration in the VMAs. The two-minute piece of content will air around the Best Latin Video category and feature the song “Mi Gente” by J Balvin and Willy William. The song, Phillips says, is all about ethnic diversity, acceptance and how dancing doesn’t discriminate—an apt message for these times.
MTV also created several new awards that are being sponsored by advertisers. Coors Light, a new advertiser to the award’s show, is sponsoring the category “Best Music Video From Home,” which recognizes artists that released videos created at home while sheltered in place. Extra Gum, whose tagline is “Give extra, get extra,” will sponsor “Every Day Heroes,” celebrating the best performances by first responders including doctors, nurses and emergency workers. Pepsi will support the “Video for Good” award, honoring artists who are using their platform for social causes. Pepsi will donate $100,000 to a charity inspired by the winning video, which will be decided by viewers.
“This is about showing the positive change youth culture can create when they use their voice to vote,” Phillips says.
Chime, online bank, is also a new advertiser this year.
The VMAs, the first live awards show to air since COVID-19, hasn’t been without its issues. MTV nixed holding the event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn due to health concerns, but there’s little clarity regarding exactly what the show will look like or if audiences will be in attendance. Performers traveling to New York have been exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine.