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Special Project

Special Project
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

That Close with Steve and Travis

Entered in Branded Content, Multi-Platform Partnership


The pandemic has kept us away from our loved ones, and kept most of us far away from the dance floor. Even musicians and famous real-life friends Steve Aoki and Travis Barker felt the strain of separation. To bridge the gap, Messenger collaborated with Steve and Travis to resurrect their collaboration and throw a show that could only be streamed using Messenger’s Watch Together function. A concert “by friends for friends” showed the more personal side of Steve and Travis’s creative collaboration while bringing fans together through the highly social format. The concert, complied with the teaser videos to promote it, earned 455 million video impressions and the concert alone garnered 26 million media impressions from press coverage in Billboard, EDM and Adweek.

Strategy and Execution

Music is a communal experience; an intangible, and invisible snapshot of the moments in our lives that allow us to come together and release. When you’re young, those moments take on a greater gravity, and the songs that freeze them in our minds become the soundtracks to our most formative years with our most formative people. Unfortunately, due to the global pandemic, many young people have been robbed of those moments for large slices of their adolescence. 

When Messenger set out to reinvent our brand we decided to focus on close friendship and the way that our best friends allow us to be our full selves. Under the banner “That Close,” we wanted to remind Gen Z that nothing allows us to extend the good times we spend with our closest friends quite like a shared experience on Messenger.

In order to scratch the itch for concerts and live shows, Messenger enlisted real-life friends Travis Barker and Steve Aoki to throw a show that could only be experienced on Messenger. Using Watch Together as a scaffolding, our creative team worked with product engineers to create a one-of-a-kind live streaming experience that could be viewed through our app. 

Running and gunning in Steve’s playhouse in Las Vegas, our production crew was with the talented tandem every step of the day. Backstage moments, wove into the performance and were intermingled with footage of the pair working on exclusive content for our platforms. Exclusive content included the creation of custom Soundmojis that were then turned into a real-life drum machine that the pair used to create original compositions live on our stream. Similarly, Steve and Travis helped the Creative X team create a custom set of friendship-themed stickers that could be used in chat during and after the concert.


The activation was a major success, gaining over 26 million earned media impressions from outlets like AdWeek, Billboard and EDM to add to our over 455 million media impressions overall. 

Our concert for friends by friends was watched live by millions people worldwide and in-product caused a significant increase in usage of Soundmojis across the platform. 

On a brand value level, the way that Steve and Travis’ real-life friendship was enhanced by Messenger resonated with our young audience, creating significant message pull through and increase in our social following across channels.


Video for That Close with Steve and Travis

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Creative X, Meta - Messenger

Entry Credits