“MTV never plays videos anymore” is so cliche that barely needs to be said. But the Viacom channel wants to be known, once again, as the global authority on pop music, and it is currently seeking new agency partners as part of a yearlong rebranding effort.
Spokespeople for both MTV and its parent company declined to comment on the news, but sources close to the matter tell us that MTV has indeed launched two separate reviews, which will be managed internally.
MTV’s overall goal is to reclaim its status as a place for music rather than reality TV shows like The Jersey Shore. Back in April, it announced the return of MTV Unplugged and Cribs, placed a greater focus on MTV News, and launched a new live music show called Wonderland that will almost certainly not “make your uncle shut up about how we don’t play music anymore.”
According to The New York Times, this year’s VMAs and album-long video projects by Beyonce and Frank Ocean have brought the classic music video back into a position of relevance as our collective memory of The Hills fades away, only to be relived via random clips from old episodes of The Soup (RIP, Joel McHale’s bald spot).
In true marketing style, last week the company named rapper A$AP Rocky as creative director for its MTV Labs unit. A subsequent press release notes that he will be one of Viacom Velocity’s “Creative Incubators.” As for what that means, MTV writes, “We can’t predict exactly how Rocky will impact Viacom, but he is sure to contribute to the bold, enigmatic energies of our brands.”
In other words, he and his “creative company” AGWE will be producing both original and sponsored content with a heavy focus on music.
According to our sources, the agencies chosen by MTV will be responsible for work to run on broadcast TV and every relevant platform. We don’t know which agencies are involved in the pitch, but we hear it will be resolved by the end of this month.