With the success of the first season of MTV’s Following, we saw a strong opportunity to dig deeper into the world of Filipino-born internet celebrity Bretman Rock in season two. Building on the strong subscriber growth, views, total minutes watched, and engagement, our goal was to promote stories and themes that aren’t often discussed openly in the genre of ‘reality’ shows; including immigrant perspectives, mental health, and career burn out.
Coming to this country and meeting his sister for the first time when he was seven years old, Bretman has scars of generational trauma. Despite being raised under the same roof, both Bretman and his sister Princess processed that trauma differently, and it manifests in their current conflicts. While MTV planned to capture the lighter side of their healing journey, a sibling fight caused our cameras to take an unexpected detour, following their true healing process, which is never as smooth and tidy as it seems on TV.
While views, engagements, and total minutes watched are always KPIs, this season we let the story of their healing process take the front seat, and hope that their journey can inspire others to work on themselves and their relationships with loved ones.
Like all unscripted shows the team begins with a plan and hopes that everything comes to life in a brilliant way, but like life, not everything goes to plan so pivoting becomes essential. Following the irreverent and whimsical Season 1, Bretman’s life and relationship with his sister turned more stressful. So for Season 2, a small team of production professionals embedded in Bretman’s home state of Hawaii to capture his journey of repairing his relationship with his sister through therapy and a series of “homework” exercises. But the healing was put on hold, when an argument erupted during one of the siblings’ assignments.
Owing his fans and the audience the truth, we followed the actual highs and lows of the healing process with his sister, throwing out nearly all of our original production plans. We decided to lean into the mental health journey 100% no matter where it took us, always having faith that love would overcome. We pulled out the stops, gaining filming access to local sacred grounds that are known to help healing, booking additional therapy sessions, and even adding special PSAs at the end of episodes that lead to our own MTV sponsored webguide to improving mental health and accessing the help you need.
Additionally, in order to best facilitate the post production process, we created a tricoastal solution: with footage sent from Hawaii, ingested in Los Angeles, and edited in New York and LA. It truly took a team of diverse professionals to accurately, effectively and emotionally translate the transformation process Bretman and his sister were undertaking at home.
When it came time to promote the show, we launched a trailer as well as a series of promotional clips across the MTV brand social accounts including Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube Shorts. Press interviews were secured with ABC News’s “Nightline,” Forbes, PageSix, and more.
Season 2 of MTV’s Following premiered on June 27th, 2022 and the six episodes have so far racked up 11.99 million views and an incredible 134.5 million minutes watched. But our true signal of success is out of the 485 thousand engagements with the series, there are the countless comments flooding the episodes relating to and identifying with Bretman’s journey, as well as the comments using this story as inspiration to start their own mental health journey. Whether through numbers or social impact we consider Season 2 of MTV’s Following to be a success.