Monday, December 17

VH1 Divas 2012

Last night VH1 aired their "Divas" concert, and I have to say it was really good to see this "brand" come back.  When it first hit (a long time ago), it was an instant hit.  The show would feature a few big female musical acts each year, as a way to raise awareness and money for music education programs in public schools.  Every year the brand grew with promotional sponsors, online content, and even retail displays.  I was doing a lot of marketing for Johnson & Johnson at the time, and the show was a great way to reach women.  We loved it.

But then it seemed to have faded, at least in my eyes, and it fell off of our radar.

Well this year it came back, and hopefully back to stay.  There were some decided differences, though, which I found quite interesting from both a pop culture and marketing perspective.

First of all, the pace of the show was frenetic.  Not just a few acts, but what felt like dozens, each gracing the stage for a song or two.  More indicative, I believe, of how folks consume music "these days."  A little of this, a little of that ... all at a speed of a pulsing beat.  And not all of the performers were super well known.  I guess you don't have to be a famous icon to be a Diva anymore, which is fine.  The VH1 Divas brand is a great way to market talent, both old and new.  Also a great way to re-invent your brand, witness Miley Cyrus.

There was also a host ... and it was a guy, Adam Lambert.  Now he's a self-proclaimed Diva in his own right so there was no disconnect.  Other guys were on the show too, like Pit Bull.  So I guess it's no longer a requirement to be female to be a Diva.  Elton John set that stage when he appeared with Tina Turner on the show back in the day.

Finally the commercial breaks were often branded content in support of the show ... brands that created "custom" advertising to work within the show.  The brand has become a marketing tool for its sponsors, and they are maximizing the impact.  All good in my book, it's for charity anyway and it pays for all the production of this great show.

The best part?  For those of you who know me ... the tribute to one of the original Divas, Donna Summer.  You can watch that here if you'd like.  Fitting for a number of reasons, including the theme which was dance music.

Sure, VH1 Divas is a marketing machine ... for the performers and for the artists ... but it is good to have the brand back.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU

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