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From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

2020 iHeartCountry Festival Tour Bus Challenge Instagram Filter

Finalist in Filter/Lens


With fans unable to celebrate the 2020 iHeartCountry Festival in Austin, TX this year, iHeartRadio had to reimagine a way to connect them with their favorite country stars like never before. iHeartRadio decided to embrace new technology and partner with the digital agency, AliveNow, to create a gamified Instagram filter. By taking this approach, fans were able to compete against their favorite country music stars from all over the world!

Strategy and Execution

The iHeartRadio social team collaborated with AliveNow to develop a gamified Instagram filter that fit the theme of the iHeartCountry Festival. Titled the iHeartCountry Tour Bus Challenge, this innovative filter had fans and artists attempting to get their animated character across a series of tour buses without falling into the street. The AR game was controlled by users opening their mouths in order for a drumstick to act as a bridge and extend from each tour bus platform. 

The filter also featured custom art and details to make it completely unique to the 2020 iHeartCountry Festival. These included: Custom tour buses for each artist on the lineup, a real-time scoreboard awarding two points for every tour bus successfully crossed, and male and female characters wearing iHeartRadio tour merch. 

To encourage fan participation and to drive more engagement, additional assets were created so the content could be shared on multiple social platforms. These included player cards with fun facts about each country superstar and behind-the-scenes video clips.


The filter generated over 500,000 impressions and 12,000 followers played the game during the week of the 2020 iHeartCountry Festival. Some artists enjoyed the filter so much that they shared it on their socials, including Dierks Bentley, Morgan Evans, and others. The filter content contributed to the 1.3 billion social media impressions generated by the event and helped generate a 46% YOY increase in social engagements and a 3% YOY increase in social video views.


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