When the MTV Video Music Awards last hit L.A. in 2008, there were two competing gifting suites in the Thompson Beverly Hills hotel alone. One economic crash later finds the same marketers and PR firms creating new events to activate their clients across parties this weekend. Now, there’s hardly a swag suite in sight. Here’s a rundown of the top tickets, tightest lists, and why you should keep checking your BlackBerry on Saturday night.
MTV hosts a rare, officially sanctioned event: A “Verizon Club Night” with producer Jermaine Dupri and performer Sean Kingston (left) at Playhouse Hollywood. What to expect? Big crowd, heavy on sponsors, and lots of contest winners recording video on sponsor Verizon’s phones.
Friday and Saturday:
Miami Marketing Group, who were one of the firms hosting a gifting suite in 2008 “aims, to break away from the typical, tired gifting suites” (via press release) by unveiling the “Musicbox powered by Ustream.”
The five-hour daytime event on Friday and Saturday afternoons has a Coachella-esque vibe -- live musical performances in a choice location with brands like Sweet Breath and New Era integrating in to the event instead of gifting. LMFAO, Hyper Crush, and a partnership with the CAA of DJ talent, SKAM Artists, will provide the tunes atop the London Hotel. Live video streaming will export the insider-y feeling worldwide. “It’s a win-win for both (event producers and us). It shows what people can do with the platform,” Ustream CEO John Ham told TheWrap.
After recent success with multi-camera backstage streaming of the Primetime Emmys, and previous streaming records carrying the “Twilight” premieres and American Music Awards red carpets, the San Francisco-based live video streamer recently opened a Hollywood office to foster partnerships like “The Music Box."
Bonus: Command PR (the firm featured on E!’s reality show “The Spin Crowd”) is handling the event. Come camera-ready.
Def Jam Rapstar and Kodak’s Pre-VMA Summer Soiree
On Saturday afternoon, A-list hip-hop executive Kevin Liles and performer Trey Songz welcome their “business family” to a pre-VMA summer soiree at a private estate in Brentwood. The forthcoming “rap-along” video game Def Jam Rapstar and Kodak sponsor the poolside get-together the day before the show. Besides a preview of the yet-to-be-released game, the top perk is the on-site “Perfect Skin Spa." What to expect: The calm before the storm.
House of Hype
The festival-trotting country club known as “House of Hype” touches down at a private estate in Beverly Hills. After a daytime pool party, Esquire Magazine seats 30 elite guests at Philippe Chow’s table for their “Power Players Dinner.” Vincent Herbert and Troy Carter (prominent members of Lady Gaga’s management team) head the dinner honoring music video directors.
Later in the night, BlackBerry will host a BBM Lounge After Party with the House of Hype for an only slightly more inclusive guest-list. A few hundred industryites will make it in, but only those who received a personal invite via instant message earlier in the day. Organizers are warning would-be crashers that only those who can verify their inclusion in the “message group” by handing over their device will be admitted to the late-night performance by Ne-Yo (left). (A few time zones away, festival-goers at the Toronto International Film Festival should also check their BlackBerries for similar events hosted by the Canadian firm, who will be playing on their home field.) What to expect: A line out front, regardless of what your BlackBerry says.
Perez Hilton’s “One Night in… L.A.”
The apotheosis of celebrity gossip (below right) continues to expand his musical footprint. The now-professional A&R man brings his “One Night in…” concert series featuring big name acts and up-and-comers to the Wiltern for performances by Pitbull, N.E.R.D., Kevin Rudolf, and Florence and the Machine. Earlier this year, Hilton hosted similar events during the O2 Wireless Festival in London and at Chicago’s Lollapalooza. Sponsors SwaggSM, Motorola, Popchips, and Café Bustelo are onboard. What to expect: More “concert” than industry “party” and lots of excited ticket winners -- the only way to gain access.
Spin Magazine makes a play on words by hosting their event at the Spin ping pong club at the Mondrian. VMA nominee Dan Black guest DJs.
The show goes live from the Nokia at 6 p.m. PT. Even though MTV owns the “Rock Band” video game franchise, competitor Activision has Deadmau5, a star of their upcoming “DJ Hero 2” game, featured prominently as the telecast’s house DJ. Mark Ronson and the late DJ AM previously held the house gig.
After the Show:
In Touch Weekly’s Icons & Idols Annual Celebration
For the third year in a row, the gossip weekly owns the post-show slot. This has become the prime location for reactions and appearances to the headline-making events at the show from those who likely will have come from event (Snoop Dogg, Nelly, “The Hills'” Stephanie Pratt) and those who might not have (Brooke Mueller, and last year Jon Gosselin). Pete Wentz will be amongst many who will perform at the tightly packed event at Bar Marmont and the tented parking lot adjacent to the Chateau. What to expect: Lots of paparazzi out front and a huge gift bag. Sponsors include Sprint, Tigi Bed Head (high end hair products), and UV Vodka.
Note: All of these events are private and by invitation-only. This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an open invitation.