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Special Project

Special Project
From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Toyota and MTV Celebrate the Universal Language of Music

Finalist in Auto

Silver Honor in Integrated Campaign

Entered in Branded Content


Coming off the heels of a highly successful and splashy 2019 partnership, Velocity and Toyota were eager to make even bigger waves in 2020. But as the Coronavirus and national outcry over racial inequality swept the country, it became evident that a new strategic approach would be needed to break through to Toyota’s Millennial and Gen-Z target. How does an auto brand boost brand affinity and purchase consideration amidst the challenges of 2020? Velocity was determined to find out.

Strategy and Execution

As a result of the global health crisis and the fight against racial inequality, 2020 marked a year characterized by unprecedented levels of isolation and division that deepened across physical and political lines. Velocity recognized an opportunity for Toyota to help change the narrative by offering a message of hope and resilience at a time it was needed most. Leveraging the cultural impact of the VMAs, Velocity architected a multi-platform campaign that championed unity and connection by showcasing music as a unifying force powerful enough to break down the barriers that so often divide us. Together, we set out to celebrate the universal language of music. 

To implement this strategy, Velocity developed a sequence of contextually relevant, in-show branded moments that wove Toyota and its message of connection into the fabric of the VMAs. 

    • We created the VMAs first-ever, all-Spanish language branded content embedded within the show, where we took viewers on a musical tour through the culturally vibrant neighborhoods of this year’s VMA host city, NYC. Enlisting eight local musicians who embody the city’s cultural and musical diversity, we created an original studio recording of the global megahit “Mi Gente” -- a song whose lyrical content & commercial success prove music’s ability to transcend borders and race. 
    • To maximize Toyota’s impact, we strategically programmed this content to air leading into the first Toyota-sponsored performance.
    • At a time when music events were cancelled and social distancing became the new status quo, we recognized the opportunity for Toyota to fill the void caused by the absence of live events.
    • Inspired by the resurgence of drive-in theaters in the wake of the pandemic, we reinvented the live music experience to build the VMAs first-ever drive-in stage featuring performances from Latinx superstars, Maluma and CNCO. A destination endemic to Toyota and organic vehicle integration, the drive-in format enabled Toyota to serve as the utility for fans to attend one of the first safe and socially-distant live music events. 
    • To deepen the fan experience, we delivered fan-first content across all platforms. We capitalized on co-viewing behavior by bringing back the Twitter Stan Cam, Twitter’s live polling feature for fans to unlock exclusive, behind-the-scenes moments alongside the live VMA broadcast, and introduced new social extensions on Spotify and Instagram that are endemic to our audience.


Named one of the “Top 6 Memorable VMA Moments” from the New York Times and “the best stage of the night” from Variety, the campaign garnered high praise from fans and press alike. Fans voiced appreciation for Toyota’s support of diverse music and Latinx culture, making Toyota the #1 most-mentioned brand among all VMA-related content. The campaign delivered an impressive 87M impressions, nearly 800k engagements, and a 32% lift in purchase intent among VMA viewers.


Video for Toyota and MTV Celebrate the Universal Language of Music

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Velocity, ViacomCBS; Saatchi & Saatchi LA; Conill Advertising; Zenith Media, Toyota

Entry Credits