Viacom, Home to MTV, BET, and MBAs

An NYU graduate student gazed at the dazzling digital wallpaper in The White Box event space at Viacom’s Times Square Headquarters, sipping a mimosa and munching a croissant. Other students milled about, intrigued by animation-splashed LED panels splashed with famous Viacom characters, such as Broad City’s Abbi and Ilana.

Networking before the panel discussion. Photo by Essence Dashtaray.

Viacom’s MBA Media Trek invited 150 grad students from some of the most prestigious business schools in the U.S. – such as Columbia, NYU and Harvard – to sit in on a panel featuring company executives and mingle with them afterward.

Viacom was one of several stops for these students on their tour of media hubs. Our talent acquisition department organized the event, curating an accomplished panel of speakers that included MTV President Chris McCarthy, Viacom Vantage Senior Vice President Gabe Bevilacqua, Paramount Digital Content Senior Vice President Anu Bhatia, and Viacom International COO Jose Tolosa.

The goal: to define Viacom’s eclectic, innovative culture, so the students could understand the workings of a fast-paced modern media company and determine whether it was a potential match for their ambitions.

What is Viacom?

Daisy Auger-Dominguez welcomed MBA grads to Viacom Headquarters. Photo by Photo by Essence Dashtaray.

Daisy Auger-Dominguez, our senior vice president of talent acquisition, welcomed students by sharing what makes her most proud to work at this company: “Viacom creates entertainment that drives culture and conversation.” She emphasized the massive breadth of this entertainment, with 4 billion subscribers in more than 180 countries.

“We are truly a global company,” said Auger-Dominguez. “This work extends to all areas of our business – from content production to advertising, distribution to data strategy and beyond.”

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How CMT Transformed Nashville Into Its Most Successful (And Progressive) Show

In 2015, Rolling Stone said ABC’s Nashville “reflects real-life struggles in the entertainment industry.”  This was in reference to the country soap’s gay characters, Will Lexington (Chris Carmack) and Kevin Bix (Kyle Dean Massey).

At the time, Bix was a new addition to the Nashville family, and as an openly gay singer, struggled to have a successful career. Lexington was hiding his sexual identity from his fans, while flourishing professionally.

Flash forward to 2017. Nashville moved to CMT for its fifth season earlier this year. Now, Lexington is out and proud, realizing he could still embrace his role as a country music star as an LGBT individual after being forced out of the closet in season three by a rival musician.

Since joining the CMT roster, Nashville has become the network’s highest-rated and most-watched series ever. Even after losing a beloved main character (Rayna James) in a tragic car crash, the show has remained wildly successful.

At least part of this success can be attributed to CMT’s inventive and progressive storyline and character development. Take Lexington’s evolution, for example. Entertainment blog Cinemablend commended CMT on “sprucing up” his character, giving him more than just romantic story arcs and LGBT-drama to fill his screen time.

Even the network’s portrayal of his sexuality has adopted more realistic angles. Even though Music City is full of heartbreak and drama, being a gay country singer doesn’t have to be riddled with conflict. In a recent episode that aired during Pride Month, Lexington got the opportunity to be a brand spokesperson for Budweiser.

Watch the fictional spot:

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Paramount’s Promotion for Rings has Over 200 Million Views in Just 24 Hours: Here’s Why

Paramount took integrated marketing to a new level with an elaborate, terrifying promotional stunt for Rings on Monday, Jan. 23.

The world first met Samara, the eerie young girl with matted hair and a penchant for crawling out of television screens, in 2002 when the first Ring movie premiered. The sequel followed in 2005, freaking out audiences around the world with the potent combination of prophetic phone calls, fuzzy TV screens, and burning trees.

But it’s been over a decade since we last saw Samara, and Paramount wants to make sure we haven’t forgotten her.

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Viacom Just Premiered the Trippiest Virtual Reality Music Video Ever at the Sundance Film Festival

Pretend you’re a robot god in a mountain liquid dreamscape, dancing to infectious electronic beats while sparkly purple kittens float around you.

Oh, and there’s champagne too.

Enter the psychedelic world of Chocolatean animated virtual reality (VR) music experience created for the song of the same name by San Francisco based musician Giraffage. Born from the wildly imaginative mind of 3D animator Tyler Hurd and executive produced by Viacom NEXT – the company’s emerging technology group – Chocolate was selected to premiere today at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in the New Frontier showcase of VR productions. It runs until Jan. 29.

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Pack Your Bags, Nick Fans: Viacom International Breaks Ground on First Nickelodeon Theme Park in China

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The groundbreaking ceremony for the Nickelodeon Cultural Resort was held on Jan.4, 2017 in Foshan, China. Photo courtesy of Viacom International Media Networks.

Viacom kicked off 2017 by making history abroad. On Wednesday, Jan. 4, Viacom International Media Networks broke ground on Nickelodeon’s first theme park in China. SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will reside at the Nickelodeon Theme Park in Foshan, China by 2020.

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Viacom’s Next Top Model: How VH1 Surprised Employees to Celebrate the Season Premiere of America’s Next Top Model

When you work at Viacom, it’s good to be camera-ready. On Monday, Dec. 12, the lobby at Viacom Headquarters transformed into a fashion show featuring our own employees as models.

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Employees at Viacom Headquarters pose for paparazzi on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016.

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Viacom Velocity Presents #nofilter: Influencers Tell Us How it’s Done

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Influencers are an important part of the media landscape, and Velocity is partnering with them on an ever-growing number of programs through its Social Talent Platform. At #nofilter: Influencers Show Us How It’s Done, a presentation and panel discussion organized by Tom De Napoli, who leads the Social Talent Platform under Lydia Daly’s Velocity Social team, Velocity staffers heard from some of the biggest influencers and industry experts in the field.

The panel included:

Shannon Boodram, YouTube sexologist and recent star of MTV’s summer-long #ResponsibleAF campaign for Trojan:

Matthew Patrick, the creator behind Game Theorists and Film Theorists:

Comedian, rapper, YouTuber and Wild ‘N Out cast member, Timothy DeLaGhetto:

Boodram, Patrick and DeLaGhetto were joined by:

  • Chris Erwin, one of Variety’s “New Leaders” and COO of Big Frame (a division of Awesomeness TV)
  • Sarah Weichel, CEO of Sarah Weichel MGMT, which reps clients like Lilly Singh and Jon Cozart
  • Courtney Carter, CAA digital agent, whose client FouseyTube recently starred in Tyler Perry’s newest Madea movie
  • Tess Finkle, CEO of Metro Public Relations, whose clients include YouTube megastars Hannah Hart and Colleen Ballinger (aka Miranda Sings).

De Napoli and Lauren Elias – the team’s Social Talent Manager – recapped the team’s success in working with social influencers over the past year, delivering best practices on creating “Fans First” social campaigns. To identify what worked, they drew on the Social Talent Platform’s successes as distilled through original research conducted by Juliette Snyder, a member of De Napoli’s Content & Platform Strategy team, who surveyed every influencer and Velocity employee who has worked on the team’s 25 campaigns over the past 12 months.

“Viacom is a brand name that everyone trusts, it’s a really, really, really big deal— and I knew my fans felt the same way,” – Shannon Boodram, YouTube sexologist.

Among their insights: partner with influencers early in creative development to guarantee authenticity of message; respect talent’s posting cadence when distributing content through their channels; and find ways to integrate influencers’ creative processes with ours and our advertisers’. These learnings will inform the Social Talent Platform team’s iterative approach to constantly improving upon its model as they support future Velocity campaigns.

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MTV Slays at the Cannes Lions Festival: Let’s Hear a Roar of Applause

Every year in June, hundreds of creative agencies, tech companies and media powerhouses converge in the South of France for The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. It’s a celebration of the year’s boldest ad campaigns; a chance to attend seminars with industry experts and drink champagne on yachts along the French Riviera.

The most visionary companies leave with the coveted Cannes Lyon Award—essentially the Oscar trophy of the advertising world.

You might remember 2015’s trippy, GIF-inspired VMA green-screen. The creative encouraged fans to download photos of their favorite VMA artists, such as Miley Cyrus, and customize them with fan art, emojis, and flying tacos.

Now the psychedelic promo has won a Cannes Gold Lion.

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Breaking Down Viacom Velocity in Four Key Points

by Zac Coe

1. Higher creative standards are standard.

Viacom Velocity is a full-service marketing and creative content team within the Viacom Marketing and Video Partner Solutions group, built to super-serve our advertising partners.

2. With great marketing comes great responsibility.

We build strategic and creative custom content solutions across all platforms that connect our partners seamlessly into the fabric of our brands, driving value for our partners and loyalty with our fans.

3. Viacom Velocity is where innovation meets collaboration.

Our innovative, data-driven marketing products like Echo, Vantage, Viewprint, Social Talent Platform and the Velocity Content Network create even more ways for our partners to connect with our audiences wherever they are.

4. Its got that new website smell.

We’ve refreshed our website to reflect our newest work, products and capabilities, plus company news and a whole lot more.

Check us out at velocity.viacom.com.

Why Left Brain/Right Brain Is a Myth and More from Viacom’s Data Strategy Pro Kodi Foster

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

 

The PSFK conference is a big deal in advertising circles. Described this year by Media Village as “a TED for advertising and branding,” it drew the most forward-thinking minds from across the advertising landscape to New York City to discuss what’s happening and what will be happening in the fast-changing ad world.

It was no surprise to us, then, that Kodi Foster (follow him on Twitter @KodiFoster), Viacom’s vice president of data strategy, was invited to speak on the powerful, even necessary symbiosis of data and creative in the making of an effective piece of marketing or advertising.

In the 10-minute video below, Foster tunnels into how “…the terrible science around media is conducted…” and detonates some commonly held myths about perceived walls between art and science. He then outlines how his team is working across the company to improve the entire content marketing process.

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