MTV Is Using Snapchat, Holograms and Augmented Reality to Drive Tune-Ins for the VMAs

But will it beat Game of Thrones?

MTV is betting big on AR for the VMAs. Source: MTV
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Digital has increasingly played a larger role in MTV’s marketing for the Video Music Awards over the past few years and this weekend’s awards show is no different.

Leading up to Sunday’s show—which takes place during the same time slot as the finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones—MTV is putting some marketing muscle into the event to grab the attention of cord-cutting millennials, including an augmented reality effect designed by Viacom NEXT, the company’s in-house creative group focused on using VR and AR to create interactive experiences, and Facebook’s recently launched Camera Effects Platform that overlays posts with augmented-reality graphics and decals.

The effect places users’ heads into a space helmet, while a clock at the top of the screen counts down to Sunday’s show, as a Moon Person trophy floats by. The Camera Effects Platform is Facebook’s answer to augmented reality and the social network is working closely with a handful of agencies and brands to create the first crop of AR ads.

The MTV Moon Person is also becoming a hologram. MTV and Viacom Velocity—the branded content arm of Viacom—created 3D holograms of the iconic character within an AR app called Holo. Within the app, consumers can download Moon Person 3D decals to add to short videos and photos. The decals perform dances like Milly Rock, Whip/Nae Nae and the Dab.

MTV is using both Instagram and Snapchat to promote the event. On Sunday night, girl group Fifth Harmony will take over Instagram’s own account (which has 225 million followers) using Stories to show them preparing for their performance at the show.

And on Snapchat, Verizon is sponsoring a collection of live content—called Our Stories—launching tomorrow, where users can vote for the winner of an award category called Song of Summer. Snap Ads for Verizon will run between pieces of content. Meanwhile, voting for Best New Artist is taking place on Twitter through direct messages sponsored by Taco Bell.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.