MTV’s social video formats always have one objective: to engage and entertain our audience. At the top of 2021, our team looked to expand our roster of social series by introducing a new celebrity interview format – one that was fresh, easy to produce via Zoom (since most of our productions were still remote due to the pandemic), and could work with any level or type of talent (whether it be an established actor, an emerging musical artist, or a TikTok creator) and on a variety of our social platforms.
We started out brainstorming around a quickfire interview format inspired by the limitations of Snap and Instagram Stories: if we put a time limit on the answer (say, 10 seconds – as long as a frame on Snap), would that pressure the talent to answer more candidly? With a blend of silly questions (“Have you ever had a crush on an animated character?”) and more serious ones (“Who do you turn to for advice?”), as well as a handful of custom questions tailored to the talent (“If your character from your latest film had a theme song, what would it be?”), we crafted a rotating list that became the basis for 21 Questions for 2021. Encouraging our social followers to be a part of the process, we sourced fan questions that are also interwoven into the series, presented to the talent via the fan’s voice recording.
Initially created with Snap and Stories in mind, we immediately found an audience for the format that encouraged us to broaden the reach! Our followers loved the high pressure/low stakes vibe of the quickfire questions and the blunt answers from the talent. We quickly brought the series to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and started posting breakout moments of the funniest or most revealing answers on TikTok.
After a few key moments from the series went viral (Doja Cat’s childhood crush on Hopper from “A Bug’s Life” spread far and wide), we reformatted some of our most successful episodes, expanded some answers through fun animations, and brought an extended version of the series to YouTube, where it found a new audience all over again.
In 2021, we produced 30 full episodes of 21 Questions for 2021, as well as 42 different break out moments for IG Reels, 36 of which also touched TikTok. Additionally, we also created two supercuts of our favorite repeat questions (“Who is your animated crush?” And, “What is a weird food combo that you love?”) to celebrate one year of the series. Across all video content, we received 60m+ views – a huge feat for a new social series – and great engagement from our fans and the talent themselves.
The success of the series will evolve with new questions and a (slightly!) extended format with Season 2, kicking off this year: 22 Questions for 2022!
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