On an average basis, I find myself scrolling through BuzzFeed’s home page approximately 5 times a day. Typically I look for funny articles to post on friends Facebook pages or quizzes that tell me “which carb is your soul mate” or “do actually prefer chocolate of cheese”. However Monday afternoon when I stumbled on BuzzFeed I came across 36 articles on the MTV European Music Awards (EMAs), an event that had just occurred within the previous 24 hours. These articles ranged from “13 Things Ruby Rose Looked Like at the MTV EMAs” to “The 29 Most WTF Moments from the 2015 MTV EMAs”.
Though I will admit many of these articles were very entertaining, it brought me to think of how music award shows and celebrities tend to market off viral moments, aided by the advent of social media. Whether it’s an outrageous outfit or a star stunning moment, celebrities strive to out do one another especially when at publically televised events such as the MTV Music Awards. MTV has progressed as a brand over the years, starting out with a focus on promoting artists alongside their music videos. However as innovation in technology emerged where people could use other platforms to listen to music and watch music videos, MTV eventually shifted their brand to become more about the culture surrounding music.
Along serving as the first and most popular music television network, MTV also hosts a series of award shows throughout the year. In the digital age of social media, celebrities have figured out ways to market off the virality of their appearances. From the classic all-denim outfits worn by Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake in 2001 to Miley Cyrus’s twerking performance with Robin Thicke in 2013, music award shows have set the stage for celebrities to shock their fans.
2001- The Unforgettable Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake denim look at the American Music Awards
2001 – Britney’s Iconic “Slave for You” Performance at the VMAs with Snake
2009 – Kanye Disses Taylor Swift at VMA’s
2010 – Lady Gaga’s Meat Dress at the VMAs
2013 – Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke Twerking Performance at the EMAs
2013 – Miley Lights Joint on Stage at EMAs
2014 – Pharrell’s Hat at the Grammy’s
2014 – Ellen DeGeneres’s Selfie at the Oscars
2015 – Kanye Announces He’s Running for President in 2020 at VMAs
2015 – Ruby Rose Fires Flamethrower at EMAs
These outrageous moments in award show history are so unforgettable because they utilized viral marketing. Though they were definitely unexpected, they were all still strategically planned for the audiences shock factor. Simultaneously as they occur, they are further marketed through individuals’ social media use. The amount of tweets, Facebook posts, BuzzFeed articles, memes, gifs, etc., further contribute to their virality. Brands like MTV along with celebrities who uphold their own brand image, utilize pre-existing social networking sites to achieve marketing objectives.
BuzzFeed itself has become so popular over the years as it describes itself as the “social news and entertainment company . . . redefining online advertising with its social, content-driven publishing technology . . . provides the most shareable breaking news, original reporting, entertainment and video.” The term “buzz” itself encompasses their entire brand strategy by focusing on tracking viral content. Whether they provide witty articles or funny quizzes, BuzzFeed wants to make their content “shareable” that it provokes people who visit the site to further share through other social media platforms. And it works. So the last question I have for you, chocolate or cheese?