Boone/Oakley Zings the Praises of MTV2

ATLANTA Mr. Rogers may be spinning in his grave as a result of Boone/Oakley’s first campaign for new client MTV2.

The effort, which broke on Monday, is MTV2’s first image work and stems from a tagline developed in-house at the New York-based cable channel. The line, “Where the music’s at. (A whole ‘nother channel),” differentiates the Viacom division from sibling channel MTV, which has moved away from music videos, alienating its core 21-27-year-old audience, sources said.

The Charlotte, N.C., shop won the creative assignment in early May following a review against New York’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen. Modernista! in Boston and Fallon in Minneapolis have handled previous assignments for MTV.

Agency founder and creative director David Oakley said he and partner John Boone prepared seven campaigns from a one-line creative brief, but it was a spur of the moment notion that won them the assignment. Oakley said he had been thinking about a series of talking baby skits written by local comedian Sean Keenan and directed by Shannon Brice at Charlotte’s The Perch comedy club. Keenan’s rough-tongued baby reviews movies.

“I thought what if the baby reviewed videos or talked about recording artists,” said Oakley. “I just knew it would work for this [pitch], so I called him [Keenan] and he wrote some scripts, which I shot on my handycam.”

The idea made executives at MTV2 laugh hysterically, said David Cohn, general manager. “Their other ideas were more traditional, but this one got the reaction we were looking for,” Cohn said.

The final spots were also shot at The Perch in digital video by Mortimer Jones of Boulevard Films in Charlotte and retain the rough, low-fi look of Oakley’s original.

“That’s the way to capture that jaded market,” said Oakley. “It doesn’t even look like an ad.”

In its nine spots for MTV2, the baby, handled by Keenan like a puppet in a “home theater” set-up reminiscent of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, rants and raves about artists such as Jay Z, Beyonce, Norah Jones, Metallica (an ad peppered with bleeps), White Stripes and The Radioheads, among others.

“Our goal for this campaign is to further bring home MTV2’s message of “Where the music’s at” with an irreverent voice that speaks to the audience,” said client executive vice president of marketing Tina Exarhos. “It also helps to differentiate MTV2 from our big brother MTV with its own unique brand and attitude.”

Spots will air nationally through the end of August on MTV and MTV2, in markets including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Seattle, and on spot network programs like Friends, Fear Factor, Mad TV, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and The Late Show With David Letterman. Ads will also air on cable channels such as Comedy Central, ESPN, TNT, Sci-Fi, USA and Discovery.