NEW YORK MTV is going green. Today the music channel is making available to its local networks in 162 countries a series of 35 public service announcements under the banner "MTV Switch."
The effort was crafted by a group of global agencies to promote energy conservation.
In addition to the PSAs, the Viacom network will also incorporate conservation into its original programming, including MTV News, over the rest of the year. In one such segment, Xzibit of Pimp My Ride fame will install an 800-horsepower diesel engine into a 1965 Chevrolet Impala.
MTV also plans to air two documentaries produced by Element called Tine and Ifie and Tia
Short spots with celebrities and artists such as Good Charlotte, MIMS and Kelly Rowland will air on MTV's channels. They will drive users online to mtvswitch.com.
"Trees" one of the PSAs, created by Lowe in New York, shows an animated tree breathing heavily as it struggles to walk around a city crowded by pollutants from cars and trucks. It ends with the tagline, "Trees can't reduce CO2 emissions alone. You can help."
"In 'Trees' we wanted to give a human look to trees so that people can relate to them," said Maggi Machado, art director at Lowe, New York. "We wanted to make people laugh and cry because you get tired of PSAs that are such downers. There is hope, so we tried to put the hope into it."
Six agencies were involved: 180, Cake, Lowe, Ogilvy & Mather, Wieden + Kennedy 12, and Young & Rubicam. Broadcasters that have agreed to air the promos include Community Channel (U.K.), RTP (Portugal), ERT (Greece), UJRT (Serbia), LBC (Lebanon), Metro TV (Indonesia), ITV (Tanzania) and TV6 (Trinidad).
This is not the first time MTV has tried to draw awareness to an issue. Previous campaigns have focused on addiction, HIV/AIDS and getting young people involved in the political process.
"This issue has come up as an issue with our audience," said Bill Roedy, vice chairman, MTV Networks, London. "It's reached a tipping point in that the issue has a lot of resonance, particularly with young people as they will be the most impacted in the future."