How the Brit Awards dominated the global, digital and social space

Digital is no longer an after-thought when broadcasting live events.

Brits

Last night’s Brit Awards was by no means the definitive evidence of this but for British television, it was quite the persuasive proof of concept for integrating digital distribution, social media and mobile into your broadcast mission.

We’ve known for a long time the second screen experience has become an increasingly popular way for consumers to watch live events.

However, what the Brit Awards demonstrated is that the relationship between TV and the second screen is now more dynamic than ever. Gone are the days where the audience picked up their phones to merely live tweet Adele puns or abuse Justin Bieber, initiated purely off the back of something they were watching.

Instead, brands are provoking, enthusing and initiating this behaviour via their own owned digital channels and the inclusion of these channels during their broadcast.

Along with TV and Radio the Brits hijacked almost every social channel in order to dominate its potential audiences’ attention and ensure that this was the most talked about event. Some methods were more conventional than others;

  • Facebook’s brand new live streaming service was leveraged in the build-up, looping in influential presenters (and recognisable ‘young people’), Lilah Parsons and George Shelley, to accost unsuspecting nominees on the red carpet… live!
  • Instagram prompted its users to watch a stream of their 15 second videos curated from celebs, attendees and publishers.
  • Snapchat was overtaken by a Brits dedicated live story that amalgamated both owned, branded content and utilised the locational filter function to brand user generated content.
  • Twitter and Vine were ablaze with exclusive shots, videos and content.
  • Those outside the UK could stream on YouTube.
  • Worldwide, people were using the performer personalised emojis in the form of Twitter hashtags to express their loyalty or dismay at the acts that took the stage.

Not only were the audience able to dictate how they watched and interacted with the Brits, they were also able to impact the outcome via social media as well. By opening up the ‘Best Video’ award to a Twitter vote, the Brits gained 1.6 million Twitter mentions off the back of one single activity.

Participation is a key takeaway here as consuming passively doesn’t work for the social media generation especially during live events.

Brits

Everything was about social media. From the ‘Facebook Status game’ where red-carpet guests on the live stream were encouraged to fill in the gaps of the status, to the Instagram booth which was ready made for the celebs attending to snap a selfie – it felt almost that, secondary to ‘British Music’, ‘Social Media’ was the theme of the evening.

Even the advertising between the show had social at the heart of the messaging (except MasterCard, the official sponsor, who neglected to include its hashtag for online activation).

Adidas utilised Instagram and Three sang a song about ‘Tweeting on the Beach’.

All of this insight signals a change in attitudes from brands (finally), that recognises that traditional advertising platforms such as television will struggle to attract new audiences left unaided by the support of other digital touch-points.

In short, the Brit Awards showed a noticeable understanding of its audience last night which is not always apparent in all advertising. Consumers choose how to participate. However, though the experience could be digested in a way that was personal to an individual, the option of whether or not to engage at all existed only faintly.

Due to the sheer dominance in the digital space and of course, its established real estate on the broadcast schedule, it was impossible to entirely escape the Brits. Its sharp mix of varied content, incentivised participation and a multitude of mediums through which to consume content means that less 24 hours after the event, we’re all still talking about it.

By Leah Kendall, senior community manager at 1000heads