MMVAs sets a personal branded record

Five of the 13 commercials during Sunday's MuchMusic Video Awards will be branded content for sponsors including Coca-Cola, Get a Load of Milk and BlackBerry.

The MuchMusic Video Awards (MMVAs) may be less susceptible to channel-wanderers during ad breaks this Sunday, considering that five of the total commercial minutes are branded extensions of the show.

The 2012 awards will see a record number of originally produced near real-time commercial content. There are eight sponsors on the sked this year, and of those, seven (two more than last year) are co-branded partnerships with on-site and online activations that look to engage audiences during the breaks.

Dave Caporicci, director, brand partnerships, Bell Media, tells MiC that instead of just running traditional commercials during the show, the channel decided to work with brands to create as much MMVA-relevant content as possible. He adds: “It’s almost like it becomes a commercial-free environment with brand-inspired content.”

Case in point, BlackBerry, a returning sponsor of the show, will have a “Be Bold Lounge” stationed on-site with two Much VJ’s catching up with artists behind-the-scenes. The content will be captured on camera and edited then and there into two 30-second spots, which will air during the breaks.

The RIM brand opted to create a co-viewing app last year, which curated a collection of social media conversations. The activation this time around will also include a second-screen experience with the channel streaming the lounge content on its website, says Caporicci.

New sponsor Subway will give away free music downloads to viewers who create captions for past MMVA photos on the MuchMusic website. The QSR will also bring some goodies and entertainment to the line-ups for wristbands with free coffee and cookies in the morning and games and music give-aways in the afternoon.

Also looking to relieve waiting consumers with a distraction, Ubisoft’s Just Dance will have an MMVA experiential zone set up for those in the ticket line. The interaction with the game will also be documented and broadcast during the awards.

After a successful first run of its Coca-Cola Covers, the beverage brand will bring the contest back this year with the Best Cover award announced during a 60-second spot during the show. Caporicci says that the age restriction has been lowered to include those age 13-and-up (instead of 16 and older) in response to the younger viewers showing an interest in the competition.

“The covers came from existing user behaviour, we saw that audience creating covers on YouTube,” he adds. “And we realize that there are a lot of talented 13- to 15-year-olds who are avid viewers and brand advocates of our channel, and that it was a missed opportunity.”

Also returning to the show is Get a Load of Milk (Dairy Farmers of Canada), which has been interacting with viewers through its Hometown Hero program. The contest had visitors of the MuchMusic website vote for three contestants asked to complete video challenges. The recently chosen Hometown Hero winner will be given an exclusive MMVA party in her Ottawa hometown, to be documented and edited into three 30-second hits that will broadcast during the awards. Caporicci says that up to 20,000 votes were received from viewers over the two-month contest.

H&M is also back with Hilary Allan, who won title of the brand’s fashion editor in its blog contest last year. Red carpet sightings with Allan will be documented and streamed live on the MuchMusic website with three separate spots set to air during the show. Viewers are also being asked to tweet their favourite fashions on the carpet, with the best dressed announced in a spot during the show, he adds.

Finally, the Virgin Mobile Member All Access lounge will provide one member and three friends with a VIP experience that includes an all-access pass to the show. The mobile brand will also sponsor the MMVAs Soundcheck for the second year.

Caporicci explains that MuchMusic wanted to incorporate more digital activations into the show, as seen from the brands creating content to stream online, and that the five-minutes of originally produced content adds by showcasing the awards from a variety of different viewpoints.

The 2012 MMVAs run this Sunday, June 17 at 9 p.m. on MuchMusic.