For over 30 years, the MTV Video Music Awards have had a history of creating star-studded, unexpected, chaotic, and artistic moments that live on in pop-culture, and are re-appropriated in internet culture, for years to come. But to promote the 2015 VMAs, we had the internet go first, empowering the collective creative power of fans to build anticipation for the crazy VMA moments that were yet to come.
A month before the show, we turned the entire media buy into green-screens, from billboards and wallscapes in LA to double decker buses and subway posters in New York. Every piece of media drove traffic to MTVVMA.net, a completely open-sourced site where people could download any and every asset from the VMA campaign for free, and make whatever the hell they wanted, with the promise MTV would pick the best pieces to replace all the green-screens out in the world.
Thousands upon thousands of fans posted thousands upon thousands of VMA fan art online, spreading word and conversation, and promoting the show’s big acts far beyond our traditional media buy. Fan social media became our free media. And then, two weeks out from the show, we chose our favorites and swapped out every piece of green-screen media for a piece of fan-made art. Everything completely and continuously refreshed so that people might never see the same piece twice, all in the spirit of creating anticipation for the same unexpected atmosphere of the live VMA show itself.