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Special Project

Special Project
From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards

Make it Up

Winner in YouTube Partnership

Finalist in YouTube


Our objective was to create a groundbreaking new series format that would merge influencer tutorials with reality competition, without compromising the integrity and massive appeal of either genre.  We aimed to deliver a modern viewing experience that fit the way young people engage with content today - on-demand across multiple platforms. 

Strategy and Execution

Make It Up is unlike any other competition series both in its production approach and editorial structure.


We wanted to create a show that embraced everything that makes influencer tutorials successful.  Rather than pull our competitors out of their environment, we chose to have them complete each challenge in their regular home studio space.  This ensured the fans who already tune in to their channels for content would be getting a level of quality consistent with their expectations.  


In order to maintain fair competition rules despite the separation between competitors, we created beautiful branded show packaging in which to deliver the materials and instructions for each challenge.  They were shipped and opened at the same time, and each contestant had the same amount of days in which to complete, film, edit, and submit their challenge video to production in order to be judged. 


In contrast, we brought our panel of judges into one room to review and judge the contestant submissions each week, which created the overall structure for the series as well as a fun camaraderie between them.  In order to bring cohesion between the two worlds, we connected everyone at the end of each episode through a group video chat.  This gave the judges an opportunity to deliver their feedback and results at one time, and the contestants a chance to interact with each other directly.


The editing and distribution of Make It Up is also unique in that the full content of each episode cannot be viewed all in one place. Our strategy was to inspire full viewer engagement and drive views between the edited episodes on, and the full challenge tutorial videos made by each of the four contestants that live on their individual YouTube channels. 


All five videos could be enjoyed on their own, but together they created one full episode of the series.  They all went live on the five respective channels at exactly the same time each week, so that regardless of which segment a viewer found first, they could click to any of the other five and seamlessly continue their viewing experience.  Throughout each contestant challenge video and our judging episodes, we included verbal and graphic calls to action to drive fans to the other segments.  We also encouraged on-going fan engagement by assigning each contestant an emoji to represent them throughout the competition and reminding fans to support them by commenting with that emoji below any of the videos.


In order to maximize the reach of our combined cast of talent, we directed all judges and contestants to post about the new episode on social media the day each episode dropped.  It was strategic to our series as well as our cast of influencers to repost each other on socials and drive fans to the judging episode in order to expand the overall network of viewers and fans.


The first season of Make It Up was incredibly successful on  We achieved our goal of creating an original format that embraced the strengths of our influencers’ content and translated that into an engaging and exciting competition.


The feedback we received from the network, our cast of talent, and their combined fan base was consistently positive.  Utilizing Instagram for polls about materials and techniques engaged fans while the contestants completed the challenges and generated investment and anticipation for the upcoming episode. The promotion of the series through social media also extended the exposure of the series beyond existing fans of our talent, which was evident in the comments. 


The judging episodes saw an increase in views as the season went on, averaging 3 million views and included hundreds of comments from fans supporting the show and their favorite contestants.  The challenge videos on each of the contestants personal YouTube channels also received tens of thousands of views and hundreds of comments.


Our pilot series has proven that this modern competition format can work and that there is a wide audience who is excited about it.  We think this has huge potential for future integrations as viewers continue to move away from standard television series and seek out entertaining ways to connect with authentic, online personalities.


Video for Make it Up

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Viacom Velocity


Entry Credits