LOS ANGELES Despite a sweep by teen favorite Justin Bieber, ABC's telecast from the Nokia Theatre of the American Music Awards was the lowest-rated yet. But the annual program did have some new tricks up its sleeve from the live-event standpoint, including the debut of an arrivals setup meant to give fans the biggest possible thrill. Overseeing the project were Dick Clark Productions vice president of communications Lynda Dorf and publicist Brian Rubin, as well as vice president of corporate alliances Rachel Wagner. Dick Clark produces the the awards, and tapped 15/40 Productions for the arrivals and after-party production, management, and design.
The new “party on the carpet” setup was a two-tiered deck behind the national broadcast press positions, a deck with another raised above it. “As a heritage brand that has always been committed to the relationship between fan and artist, we're always and consistently trying to look for ways to bring the two together, or give fans that opportunity to get a good view and maybe even an interaction,” Dorf said.
“Working with 15/40, we're always looking for ways to help profile our sponsors and partners,” Dorf said. “The discussions we've had over the last year were about how to do that. I was struck by the design for the Michael Jackson premiere [for This Is It, also produced by 15/40] and thought it could work for us. We always have a fan pit, but this was different. [With sponsors] Coke, Ustream, and Ubisoft, it was a lounge that served as a prime spot for people to watch interviews and see stars.” Overall, there were about 250 fans in the lounge, including winners of radio promotions and package ticket holders, plus sponsors' guests. There were about 350 fans in the pit.
Dick Clark also hosted this year’s official preparty at Lucky Strike at L.A. Live. The party included a celebrity charity bowl tournament; invited guests had their chance to bowl with their favorite celebrity for charity, and DJ Rick Rude supplied the music. “It's the second year that we've done this preparty, and it was really a way for us to continue this concept of building a weekend for AMA,” said Dorf. The event built on a budding charity tie-in at last year's Target Terrace party. Bowling was $20 per game, and each celebrity chose a charity to support through the proceeds.
And for the second year, the official after-party took to the Conga Room, with an event for about 1,000 guests. “We liked the proximity to the facility, and we loved the intimacy of it,” said Dorf, who described the additional show elements as part of an ongoing effort to make the awards a weekend-long experience for both industry attendees and consumers.