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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

2023 MTV VMAs: Best New Artist Voting Lens

Winner in Filter/Lens


Every year the VMAs strive to find new ways to connect with music lovers across the globe. 
In 2023, MTV partnered with Snapchat to break new ground and add an innovative layer to our
multi-tiered social rollout strategy. Our goal was to top off an extensive social marketing plan with a “first-ever” execution that had enough razzle-dazzle to turn some heads, attract sponsors and contribute to our overall social success story.


Strategy and Execution

For years, the VMA Best New Artist category winner was determined by website fan voting in combination with a real-time “hashtag battle” during the VMA live broadcast. In 2023 we were ready to try something new, and a seed of an idea emerged: could it be possible for fans to vote in real-time with a Snapchat lens? 

Long story short…YES. 

After initial meetings with Snapchat, the idea of launching an interactive lens became enticing. No award show had ever utilized an AR lens for voting, and we love a challenge!

Ideally this hypothetical lens would allow fans to vote for their favorite Best New Artist Nominee LIVE during the VMAs and deliver real-time results. Meanwhile Snapchat’s proprietary Camera Kit would help visualize the lens on air. 

And since the final three Best New Artist nominees aren’t determined until VMA day, the lens had to be launched, promoted, used and deactivated within a 10-hour window!

To make it all happen, MTV + Snapchat collaborated with Saucealitos, a small but mighty tech and design agency. Developing the full flow from lens launch to final results certainly 
introduced some development wrinkles. But with combined brain power, it all came together 

And so! On VMA morning we officially launched the Best New Artist Snapchat voting lens. 
Fans were given the option to vote for one of three finalists using hand movements. Then after submitting their vote, fans could capture themselves as a customized Moon Person to share and help spread the word. 

With a mere 10-hour voting window, we exerted every effort to reach fans in as many ways and places as possible. This included promoting the Best New Artist voting lens across all MTV and VMA social handles, including Instagram, Facebook and X. We featured the QR code on VMA venue screens and linear hits, driving fans to vote. We even demonstrated how to use the lens during the VMA Pre-Show - visualized using Snapchat’s Camera Kit technology, which gives broadcasters the ability to bring AR to life from the control room.

Of course we also showed the lens some promo love in our VMA backstage livestream, and had some fun with Snapchat’s Camera Kit - layering popular Snap lenses and custom Moon Person helmets on celebs and VMA audience members alike. Plus, fans submitted photos for the chance to “appear as the Moon Person” in the livestream - dancing in the hallways or floating next to celebs in the audience. And since this is a no-FOMO zone, we made sure the Moon Person lens was available for fans at home too!


The Best New Artist voting lens was an extremely niche product, and we walked away with year-over-year success stories:

- +104% live Best New Artist votes year over year compared to the previous hashtag battle
- +365% VMA engagements on Snapchat year over year

It was the first-ever AR voting lens for an award show, and received press coverage to boot!


Video for 2023 MTV VMAs: Best New Artist Voting Lens

Entrant Company / Organization Name

MTV Entertainment Studios


Entry Credits