Finding new ways to party with #AcademySocial

The strategy behind the ACCT's third annual #AcademySocial event, an event designed to expand the scope of Screen Week and invigorate the awards-week party circuit.

When the team at the Academy of Canadian Television and Cinema has been developing each iteration of the digi-focused #AcademySocial event over the past three years, they have always followed one guiding principle: make sure the event is as innovative as the creators it is meant to honour.

The Academy launched the #AcademySocial event in 2014, with the goal of recognizing Canadian social media stars whose work did not quite fit into the traditional media categories of the Canadian Screen Awards. The first event, co-presented by Bristow Global Media, was hosted at The Hoxton and featured various social activations, such as a Google Glass demo, and honoured the likes of #ASAPScience and Chris Hadfield’s “Space Oddity” stream from the International Space Station.

This year, the growing popularity of the event has prompted a move to a larger venue, with the 2016 #AcademySocial to be held at Toronto’s 99 Sudbury on Thursday, March 10. And keeping in the theme of innovation, the 2016 #AcademySocial will feature a live recording of an Orphan Black podcast, a Smokebomb Entertainment-backed tattoo station and a VR activation from cinematic VR studio deep inc. The event will be co-hosted by Much and eTalk Daily correspondent Liz Trinnear and YouTube star Jasmeet “JusReign” Singh, who is up for one of the five awards to be presented during the evening.

“These events have been really unique and interesting events from a production standpoint. The innovators themselves are doing such creative things – they are some of the most creative people in the screen-based industry. Along with celebrating that, the idea was to celebrate them in a creative way as well,” Louis Calabro, director of Awards and Special Events for the ACCT, told Playback Daily.

The event’s social audience has also gained traction over the years. In 2014, data from social media analytics company Sysomos provided by the Academy indicated the #AcademySocial hashtag had a reach of 5 million, which grew to 7.5 million in 2015. Last year, the #AcademySocial hashtag also averaged 21 tweets per minute throughout the event.

The second year of the event also featured a partnership with social network Hubub, with the page hitting 152,000 views and earning 2,200 shares. The setup of the event itself, with its interactive installations and laid-back vibe, also lends itself to more social action than a broadcast gala, which in turn can prompt audience growth and sponsorship interest, Calabro said.

“Because it’s out there and people are seeing it…there is that FOMO [fear of missing out] element to it. That’s huge. Once you have that, people are really interested in getting involved,” Calabro said.

As such, this year, media agency Jones Media is co-presenting the #AcademySocial event, a move that Sarah Bobas, director of content and creative strategy says is in line with the company’s growing focus on the role social influences play in the business world. The company recently launched Jones Voice, a division dedicated to connecting brands and social media influencers. By partnering with ACCT on #AcademySocial, it also provides the company with an opportunity to attach itself to a social-focused event that is the first of its kind in Canada, Bobas said.

“This event allows us to celebrate and showcase those [in both the social media and brand realms] who seize that opportunity and create effective communication vehicles to deliver messages or incite an important conversation,” Bobas said.