Six ways the VAPRAS succeeded as an effective event strategy.

VAPRAS Title Credit sequence

As events practitioners it’s a brand new and socially distant age we’ve entered. What are we to do when COVID-19 lock down has forced the cessation of our industry events, trade shows, conferences, concerts, theatre performances and awards shows, not merely in one location, the world over? Tonight the APRA AMCOS: 2020 APRA Music Awards were broadcast in a virtual fashion — The VAPRAS. It’s the first opportunity I’ve spied to see how a virtual awards event might look and I was thoroughly impressed!

Here are six ways the VAPRAS shone in 2020

  1. Ambiance: The program adopted an ethos akin to: Entertain in as many unexpected and surprising ways as possible; “Surprise” and “Delight” the audience in as many moments as we can.
  2. Duration: Short format — 1 hour 15 mins (kept pace and momentum)
  3. Distribution: The strategy was on point. The show was delivered in a pre-record video format but unlocked for viewing during Prime Time broadcast period (7:15pm) and was showcased via a simple /free platform called: HYVIO
  4. Content: Punchy — from the presenter’s sarcastic wit (Briggs), his unexpected delivery and his odd look it was all a bit of a punch in the face/or arm (Unexpected /Surprising/Delight-filled — my favourite adjectives for this show!)
  5. Sponsors: were afforded a level playing field. Two spots for recognition: spoken reference at the beginning — delivered in a humorous add on manner by MC Briggs: “That’s not all folks, now we’re going to show acknowledgement to our sponsors”…
VAPRA Music Award Sponsors listed on a level (one line )continuum


Final mention of sponsors at the immediate closure of the proceedings.

In both instances the sponsor recognition was non-hierarchical and non invasive: APRA’s supporting partners demonstrating they were exactly that — supporting.

& Finally perhaps most importantly:

6. Celebrating the Music/Industry: APRA elevated the music offering fresh ways of hearing familiar songs from 2019’s hit song lists. While the “Song of the Year” category was peer voted APRA empowered well known musician Kate Miller-Heidke to curate performances of the nominated songs.

Each song nomination was reinterpreted to highlight an unexpected feature of the songs alerting the listener to the arrangement in new exciting twists. Whether through genre flipping; a lesser known or emerging talent performing or; a complete re-modeling of the song in tempo, pace and style the audience were bound to be astonished. Take the laconic John Butler who performed a roots infused, looping version of Guy Sebastian’s upbeat and harmony driven Choir or Thelma Plum’s Better in Blak which was rejigged slightly by fellow indigenous female artists Kira Puru and Mo’Jo with a stripped back raw yet still evocative touch. These musical moments offered the viewer contrast to their traditional form and exposed them to formerly unexplored ways of hearing tried and tested formulas.

If success is to be assured assess what your audience motivation to tune in is…

Australians can be a cynical and hard to impress bunch at the best of times — this broadcast demonstrated that APRA were in touch with their audience needs and desires and tone friendly to the current climate. Overall the APRA team put thought into the proposition because they faced lofty objectives this year as we all ‘stay home’.

Put simply they needed to provide compelling content and reasons to watch.

As I see things it felt imperative to draw people’s attention/engage people who belong to one of these two categories.

Employed (but more than likely suffering screen fatigue thanks to Working from Home)


Unemployed (a potential residual result of lock down and its impacts to artists/musicians and performers/crew and production who may be facing uncertain and difficult times, particularly financially.)

Appropriate recognition to the industry, a necessity as it is every year.

APRA demonstrated their adherence to a primary objective to ensure the awards still sought to celebrate and show appropriate levels of recognition for the industry, songwriters, publishers and performers.

Shout out to APRA for maintaining their ‘reason WHY’ at the forefront of this format

One final nod to the APRA crew responsible for this awards juggernaut. Well done on keeping the values of APRA AMCOS at the forefront of the viewer’s mind. A sign off from Briggs to close the show suggesting we all support local artists, see live performance and continue to enjoy streaming on DSP’s of local talent is so very important to their core business. Succinctly wrapped up by their About US statement: We’re here for the music. We help music creators get paid for their work and give music users easy ways to legally play and copy what they like. Royalties keep the music coming and ensure the industry’s future. And that’s what we all want to hear.

The data is more than certainly currently under evaluation and aggregation to determine the overall success of this event vehicle, but there is no doubt the VAPRAS succeeded in staying true to their brand and values through delivery of authentic and original content. The condensed format and staged Monday night delivery will I’m also sure help their audience reach. Could it be ambitious to anticipate at least 100 000 live streams between now and the 24th June the lifetime of the broadcast via Hyvio — a far greater number than the in-person live event format might offer?

Australian #Marketing Miss. #brand #strategy & strategic brand alignments excite me. #Trend watching & sometimes inclined to write on what I see. TW:@wow_ruby