Sold! The 2011 MTV Video Music Awards


You know a show is good when the entire family gathers around the TV to watch. And since the point of having TV shows is to sell things, I'm thinking the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards (#VMA) was a huge success - not just for the celebrities who appeared but for three product brands in particular:

1. Kia. Hip commercial, hip music, cool design. All together I would consider a brand I would never have thought of before. Terrific.

2. Taco Bell. That was an appetizing, funny commercial with a strong brand image if ever I’ve seen one. The part where the guy handed out the tacos to the grandmas at the lawn party was hilarious.

3. “The Hunger Games” – great promo, great idea. Sold, sold, sold.

Why did the VMAs work so well?

1. The choreography, the stage, the lightshow, everything was so polished and absolutely amazing. I felt like I was watching a $350-a-ticket concert for free.

2. I loved the variety of stars they put onstage – from Kim Kardashian to Katie Holmes to Tony Bennett.

3. Speaking of Tony Bennett, the Amy Winehouse tribute that started with Russell Brand and ended with an airing of the Bennett-Winehouse duo on Abbey Road in London was amazing. Even if you didn’t know who Amy was, you ended up a fan.

4. I didn’t start out a Katy Perry fan, but was converted for sure by last night. Great hat, great performer. Understands how to connect with the audience.

5. That said, Russell Brand takes it to a higher level. He knows how to talk to you as if he is in the same room, despite being behind a camera. Brilliant.

6. Beyonce – despite the bad song – owned the stage. Great voice, great outfits, great dancing. And when she rubbed her tummy at the end to show she was pregnant, that was fabulous.

7. The song by Adele broke my heart and made me cry. I felt her pain but she handled it like a true performer. Completely in control but open emotionally. The definition of an artist.

8. Lady Gaga cracked me up in the man outfit, when she tried to kiss Britney Spears. Although she took it a little too far. Enjoyed the Britney Spears tribute, too, but Britney herself seemed dazed when she came up on stage – read right off the teleprompter. Sort of sad.

9. Chris Brown did a great job in his number. I felt bad for what happened between him and Rihanna. I thought he was trying to come back from all of that. Flying all over the place – dancing like that - he did.

10. A lot of the artists I didn’t know. But that was fine. I asked my kids…enjoyed learning.

Even the parts that didn’t work so well, worked well because they are engaging:

1. Is it me or are we seeing too much of Selena Gomez?

2. Speaking of Selena Gomez, who is in a relationship with Justin Bieber, for the life of me I don’t understand the Justin Bieber thing at all. Do you know I have never even heard a Justin Bieber song? I liked that he thanked Jesus for his award, but I can’t understand why this person is famous.

3. The Jessie J thing where she sat in the chair all night with her foot in the cast…just looked weird. She sang OK; I understand she’s the one who sings that song “It’s all about the money”; so it’s a tossup whether it was a good idea to have her up there. She seemed to drain a lot of energy from the stage.

4. I reflected that there is a difference between controlling the fact that you are out of control, and just losing it. For example, the band that did the mosh pit thing seemed in control, even though the singer dropped into the crowd. On the other hand Li’l Wayne just went crazy. It was bad how he ended the show.

5. Cursing. A little – maybe. Too much – just not classy at all.

On the subject of pop culture:

A prayer for Will Smith and Jada Pinkett. May G-d bless and protect them and heal them in this difficult time.

Have a good day everyone, and good luck!


Image source here


Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, and, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.