VH1 hopes its Sunday VH1 Divas event – honoring Whitney Houston and Donna Summer, hosted by Adam Lambert and featuring popular artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus and Bootsy Collins – will break new ground in muti-screen social engagement.
“We know our audience is watching TV, on their laptop and on their phone all at the same time,” said Dan Sacher, senior vice president of VH1 and Logo Digital.
“We try to give them material and fodder for what they’re doing, so they’re engaging even more deeply and getting the word out about our shows,” he said.
At 8 p.m. Eastern, the show hits the airwaves and the livestream on VH1’s website as celebrities start hitting the red carpet at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium. The celebrities won’t just be interviewed on the red carpet, they’ll be invited to pose — props provided — for quick photo shoots that will be turned into animated GIFs and posted to VH1’s Tumblr.
“This is a really exciting red carpet because you have a really unique mix of musicians there, and they’re all there to do fun things. It’s not an awards show,” said Jon Mallow, the vice president of shows and events for VH1 Digital. Chaka Kahn and 50 Cent made a splash last year when they showed up together, he said.
The music channel will double its memes, keeping GIF photo booths open throughout the event to capture choice moments of celebrity silliness.
“There’s a trend of photo booths happening, we saw this as an opportunity to merge those two things,” said Mallow.
Video highlights and still photos will start going up on VH1’s website right away and continue throughout the performances. (Adam Lambert has “leaked” that he’ll be performing a Madonna cover.)
As soon as the event kicks off at 9 p.m., the red-carpet cameras will move backstage, including to the green room, where the stars get ready for their performances. The idea is “to give users an idea of what happens just off the TV screen,” Mallow said.
VH1 is expecting a lot of tweeting during the show. Last year, 42 topics related to the show cycled through Twitter’s top 10 trending topics for the U.S., and the company is hoping to top that this year (main hashtag: #vh1divas).
The VH1 website also feature a real-time Twitter visualization. The most-tweeted photographs will appear larger than the others. Hashtags and usernames referencing the stars will also be tracked. Users can click on the content that interests them most to get more information, including the latest tweets.
The sharing will likely continue into Monday, as people arrive at work ready “to share those moments and relive their favorite performances,” Mallow said. Keep an eye on the 20-something women in your office: They’re VH1’s target audience and, according to a recent Nielsen report, the single most social demographic on the Internet.