“We’ve had a lot of success with Twitter Amplify (for the MTV Video Music Awards) and it kind of made us hungrier for more,” Lucas said. “We worked with Revlon, T-Mobile, and had about eight campaigns running that were really strong and we’re considering expanding.”
The "live" campaigns Lucas speaks of aired during the summer MTV Music Video Awards in conjunction with Twitter Amplify and resulted in more than 100,000 reposts "because people were really in to it," Lucas said. "There were performances they saw, liked, reflagged … and it sort of moves on its own and becomes its own product. It was great to offer advertisers and agencies to go along for the ride. And I think that’s what we’re trying to do with our social footprint with Tumblr."
More recently, Viacom concluded its first series of co-branded campaigns with Yahoo’s Tumblr, which kicked off during the 2014 MTV Movie Awards on April 13, marking Tumblr’s first programmer ad partnership. These ad packages manifested as interactive posts, animated GIFs and images that MTV posted throughout the awards show.
Some industry insiders, such as Tim Dunn, digital agency Isobar’s director of strategy and mobile, have wondered if Tumblr’s new sponsored posts have the inherent ability to scale. Jeff Bercovici of Forbes wrote that Tumblr’s recent "traffic flattening corresponds with a period of torrid growth for viral content sites, particularly BuzzFeed and Upworthy.”
According to Viacom’s Lucas, one of the challenges for sites or other social platforms, is their ability to access a continual stream of original, network-grade content. Viacom, he added, spends $3.5 billion a year on content. More importantly, he said, is creating content that can be broken into digestible formats that are shareable.
Static content does not resonate with the millennial populace, he said.
He referenced Comedy Central’s original series "Workaholics," an example of programming “(consumers) want to interact with, share, play with and then pass it on. … We make it turnkey, in one place, under one roof, so clients can … access that content and extend it out on Tumblr, Twitter and through other partners we’re inviting in, and then measure the impact."
“I’ve worked in networks and cable for a very long time and one thing that differentiates us is our audience," he added. Our audience is young and they are early adopters of every kind of technology out there. … It's not about recirculating old content. It's bringing fresh content to Tumblr's base with the ability to specifically target that content. (Tumblr) has only sold ads for about a year, so this is new for them."