Thursday, 3 March 2011

MTV brand identity: pushing it to the next level

End of February 2011, MTV US launched the US remake of a UK TV series “Skins”. The network began the first 10-episode season on the wings of heavy TV promotion, resulting in high anticipation by its young target audience.

Before launching the first episode in the US end of January 2011, MTV described Skins as “… a wild ride through the lives of a group of high school friends stumbling through the mine field of adolescence…”.
In the past couple of weeks, the show triggered quite some buzz.
Fortunately MTV is no stranger to controversy or provocative series and the buzz around them. TV watchdog group declared that the series may well be the most dangerous television show for children ever seen.

According to a recent article in the New York Times certain MTV producers who remain unnamed claim that ”in recent days” they have become concerned that some scenes “may violate federal child pornography statutes” resulting in even more Buzz. The conversations around the series are quickly becoming an online spectacle: the buzz around the series could not have been better if MTV had indeed planned the media attention for their new show like this.

(Watching the mashed up trailer of the UK and US versions of the show, it’s impossible not to notice how the mobile phone is always near and even if you don’t particularly like the show, it at least provides an interesting view on Generation Y and their perspective on life. Characters talk over one another and crowd the camera, an effective, though subtle, metaphor for today’s digital reality of generation Y.)
Now what does all this mean for the MTV brand?

Using the controversy around the show, MTV adds another level to the company’s brand story while staying true to their core image. Ever since the 1980s the MTV brand shifted away from music clips into more long-form programming in order to capture their audience for longer periods of time. This shifted their brand to become more about the culture surrounding the music. With the introduction of one of the world’s first reality shows “The Real World” set the new standard for a whole wave of reality shows around the globe.

The next level has to be the introduction of talent shows like America’s Best Dance Crew.

With Skins it seems that MTV is moving into more “scripted” shows and less reality TV. With all of the buzz around this show and about where television should “draw the line” the network enables conversations amongst lovers and haters. MTV managed to yet again set a new standard of television while maintaining a close ear to their core target group and staying loyal to their brand identity.


  1. Nice Post.
    While brands are far more than logos. brand identities are an expression and reflection of an organization’s culture, character, personality,and its products and services.
    Thanks for sharing such a nice information.

  2. Emiel, nice article. Any chance you'll return to update the blog any time soon?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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