By Jenna Egan

2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

Practically every American has seen or at least heard of Miley Cyrus’ infamous “twerking” scandal on the MTV Video Music Awards.  However, was her raunchy and extremely provocative performance actually a strategic marketing plan? Just days after Cyrus’ hit single, “Wrecking Ball” – which debuted the day of the VMA’s – hit iTunes, it already had been purchased and downloaded 90,000 times, says Huffington Post. The song also hit Number 13 on Billboard’s Top Digital Songs chart. If that’s not proof of a successful performance, then I’m not sure what is.

Miley’s stunt may have shocked thousands of Americans across the nation, but in all reality, who cares? It got people to pay attention to her and increased her sales revenue tremendously.

The Huffington Post stated, “Regardless of your personal feelings about her performance, it’s difficult to argue with the fact that Miley Cyrus pulled off the greatest marketing triumph the entertainment industry has seen in quite awhile.”  And I 100% agree with that. Sure, her performance made everyone ask themselves, “Is this chick on drugs?” But did she grab your and thousands of other Americans’ attention? Yes. Did she create a memorable performance that would stick out in consumers’ minds? Yes. Did she do an effective job of marketing to her target audience? Absolutely- yes!

Miley combined two very important marketing strategies, which ultimately made her performance a success: strategy and distinctiveness. Marketing is all about using the content and timing of your campaigns to your advantage. She debuted her new single, “Wrecking Ball” at the exact same time as her VMA Performance. Coincidence? I think not. Whether you want to believe it or not, she strategically planned it all out– and it definitely worked in her favor.

The pop star also used the marketing strategy of distinctiveness. People are still talking about her scandalous, month-old performance today! She knew she had to do something totally out of the ordinary, yet memorable, in order to get her target audience’s attention. And she did exactly that. It’s the same marketing tactic that Lady Gaga uses every time she steps on the red carpet wearing an utterly ridiculous costume. Or how about when Britney Spears and Madonna made out on national television? These are all strategic marketing plans, and even though Miley’s performance was extremely vulgar and inappropriate, it got your attention– and that’s all that matters.

Overall, I think we have a lot to learn from this 20 year-old, twerking queen. She may have practically had sex with a foam finger on national TV, but hey, she’s making more money than some of the most famous artists in the business.



Written by Ad Buzz

The American Advertising Federation Illinois Chapter brings to you Ad Buzz, a blog dedicated to all things advertising related, from our favorite campaigns to trends going on in the industry.

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