Why FabFitFun and MTV are teaming up for the VMAs

In an unusual partnership, subscription box company FabFitFun has teamed up with MTV on a product box themed around the network’s Video Music Awards on Sunday.

“Partnering with an iconic brand like MTV is something we’re completely excited about,” said Katie Rosen Kitchens, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of FabFitFun. “We’ve been fans of the VMAs since we were little kids.”

The boxes are available only to a select group of five influencers for now, including Lo Bosworth and Jamie Lynn Spears, who have been paid to promote the brand partnership through two video posts on their respective Instagram accounts. The first, an “unboxing” video that features each influencer going through the products in the box, has already rolled out, and the second round will run just before the VMAs on Sunday. Fans, however, will also have the opportunity to win one of the boxes by tagging two of their friends on the posts — and, according to the FabFitFun, if they generate enough hype, they may be available to order down the line.

The packaging for FabFitFun and MTV’s exclusive VMAs box

Products inside the box are said to be inspired by MTV’s Moon Man icon and include R+Co’s Outer Space Flexible Hairspray, ISH’s Gold Bomb highlighter, Kris Nations earrings, Butter London nail polish, Her Majesty lipstick and a Moleskine weekly planner.

It was actually the television network that first had the idea, said Kitchens.“They reached out to us as they were looking for ways to promote the VMAs,” she said. “Our products cross so many different categories — beauty, fashion, fitness — and we have a really strong influencer network, so it was an ideal partnership with the potential to reach a wide range of viewers.”

According to the MTV team, they had tasked their media agency with bringing in some smart partners that could help facilitate unconventional ways to ramp up VMAs viewership. That’s when FabFitFun was brought in. “We think it is a great brand to work with for penetrating the lifestyle of a young woman,” said a spokesperson.

FabFitFun didn’t disclose media spend.

The project marks the first co-branded box for FabFitFun, a lifestyle membership brand–slash–box service that introduces women to a curated collection of full-size products across various categories (including beauty, fashion, and wellness) on a seasonal basis. It’s not its first collaboration, however; it has worked with many MTV-adjacent reality stars, including Whitney Port and some of the Real Housewives, on boxes in the past.

Inside FabFitFun and MTV’s exclusive VMAs box

According to Kitchens, the company’s target demographic is already intentionally broad, though it still sees the partnership as a way to tap into a new and younger consumer base. “We tend to over-index for women between 25 and 40, but these collaborations have the ability to spread the FabFitFun word farther and wider,” she said.

However, it’s unclear whether or not marketing plays like this actually have long-term payoff.

“FabFitFun is benefiting from both the relevant reach of people like Jamie Lynn Spears and the name of MTV,” said Bryan Silverman, manager of strategic partnerships and business development at Crowdtap, an influencer marketing platform. “For MTV, this is an opportunity for them to reach an audience in an extremely contextually-relevant way. Media and TV companies are constantly looking for new ways to drive home their brand to consumers, especially young ones that might not be watching as much TV.”

The exclusivity of the box helps ramp up demand, too, he said. “I’d bet that it results in a larger desire for FabFitFun — and a higher sense of loyalty from current consumers — while simultaneously making MTV seem more relevant.”

Indeed, MTV isn’t doing this for nothing, said Jim Fosina, the CEO behind Fosina Marketing Group, adding that it’s likely receiving product-placement fees or a share of the revenue generated by the promotion. “It’s another way for broadcast channels like MTV to monetize their broadcast and their star power to generate incremental revenue instead of simply relying on 30- to 60-second spots,” he said.

For FabFitFun, the foremost goal is not likely to be immediate sales, said Gil Eyal, CEO of HYPR, an influencer search and analytics platform. Instead, “it’s about creating a cool factor and viral discussion,” he said. “This is a big win for them.”

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