Wednesday’s CMT Awards will be supported by “without a doubt the highest volume and probably the most meaningful advertiser integrations,” says Anthony Barton, CMT’s senior VP of integrated marketing. This year’s ceremony, held in the middle of the County Music Association Festival in Nashville, will feature extensive brand integrations from Nationwide, Verizon Wireless, Kia and Pepsi with additional sponsorship from L’Oreal/Garnier, J&J Band-Aid, Lil Caesar’s Pizza, Kellogg, Consumer Info, Darden and Unilever.
The CMT Awards have regularly been the Viacom cable network’s most-watched event of the year, with an average 2.9 million total viewers tuning into the 2012 telecast, 1.1 million of which were in the 18-to-49-year-old demo. On-site, Monster Headphones and Diageo’s Crown Royal will sponsor the backstage area. Prior to the telecast, Mars’ Sheba cat food hosted an event over the weekend to honor Nashville Cat Rescue, while retailer Maurices launched a custom microsite, stylethatrocks.cmt.com, that included a casting call to send winners to the awards. After the telecast, Mountain Dew will premiere a new branded series, “Concrete Country,” that will spotlight up-and-coming artists like Stoney LaRue and Brian Davis each week.
One of the highlights will include a Nationwide commercial that will feature 2013 CMT Award nominee Jana Kramer. The country singer has already appeared off-camera as singer of the “Nationwide is on your side” jingle for the past year after performing at a private event for Nationwide executives prior to the 2012 CMT Awards, making this year’s telecast a full circle of sorts.
“We were getting ready to launch our Join the Nation campaign in July last year, and we met her in June when we had been auditioning people,” recalls Matt Jauchius, Nationwide’s chief marketing officer. “So I asked her, ‘would you be interested in singing our jingle,’ and she said she grew up in Michigan and, ‘I really like and know your brand.’ We couldn’t be happier with who she is as an artist and as a person and we’re excited to do some things to take that to the next level.”
Nationwide, a six-year sponsor of the CMT Awards, is also sponsoring its first branded stage during the telecast, where Ashley Monroe, Cassadee Pope, Dustin Lynch and others will perform throughout the night. It will also sponsor the Nationwide Insurance On Your Side Award, a fan-voted award for the best new live act. The company also sponsored a special “CMT Music Hours” featuring On Your Side Award nominees’ videos.
That Nationwide and Mountain Dew are developing talent-specific ad campaigns and entertainment that complement some of the most popular artists on CMT is a happy coincidence. Hunter Hayes just announced a headlining spot on this fall’s CMT On Tour, where his relationship with Pepsi may also play a role. “We love having these partners that have someone in common, so why not use out platform to help cement those relationships?” says CMT’s Barton. “We want to leverage anything that makes access to artists easier. Out meeting now have 45 people in them and they end up with better results.”