Virtual Event Tips from the Best – Emmys 2020

Sep 25, 2020

Are you a big fan of awards shows? The Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Oscars, VH1 Music Awards, and The Emmys are all famous celebrations of the best music, acting, and entertainment. When the pandemic hit earlier in 2020, the question for these well known big events became – should they be canceled or reimagined? 


The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, aired on September 20, 2020. Although it had the same celebratory feel as previous years, it looked completely different. Without an audience, there was a strong possibility that the event would flop, but the Emmys implemented some key factors to make it great. 


What did the Emmys do to make their virtual event remarkable



  • They put the right people in the right seats. The two most important roles for this show were played by the host and DJ. Without the live studio audience, there was a chance the entertainment factor would be negatively impacted. Most of the fun of a live audience is to see real-time reactions, hear the applause, and interact with people on the spot – however, without this aspect, most of the entertainment relied on the host and DJ. Jimmy Kimmel knew exactly how to emcee this virtual event. He knew how to interact well with the room, welcome, and congratulate nominees that joined on screen, and he used jokes and phrases that made this event feel fun. Alongside Kimmel’s hosting, the DJ – or the “CEO of Club Quarantine,” as he called himself, played music and interacted with the camera just as well as Jimmy did. As an event company, we highly appreciated seeing this dynamic as we work with clients to help them produce virtual events. The takeaway here? Hire a high-quality emcee and DJ. 


  • They created a world-class look and feel. Part of the fun of watching awards shows like the Emmys is seeing the space: everyone in formal attire, lights and decor to transform the room, and the special touches that make the room come to life. But with a virtual event, you are working with a much different setup than before. In this case, the Emmys created a room filled with screens, from top to bottom. Each screen housed nominees tuning in to watch from home. This setup gave the same feeling of connectedness that a live room would and was topped off with a giant replica of the Emmys statue. These elements turned an ordinary live stream into a formal, high-class event. The takeaway here? Use graphics, lights, cameras, and decor to make your virtual event feel like a high-quality production. 


  • They used a giveback component to make it meaningful. For every Emmy that was given out, the winning show donated to No Kid Hungry, an organization dedicated to relieving child hunger brought on by the Coronavirus crisis. This element provided a purpose behind the night and rallied all viewers and nominees around a meaningful reason for watching. In total, $2.8 million was donated to No Kid Hungry. The takeaway here? Add a giveback component or very clear purpose behind your event that touches on the heartstrings of your viewers. 


Virtual events have become the norm around the world but there are many ways to make them stand out. The elements demonstrated by the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards are just a few of the factors we implement in our virtual events. 


If you are looking to plan a virtual event, chat with us about how to make it remarkable. Click here to schedule a FREE event-strategy call with us!

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