MTV Faces The Music

FCB Brings Cable Network Back to Its Roots
SAN FRANCISCO–Foote, Cone & Belding steers MTV’s focus back to music in its first TV spots for the cable network.
A 45-second TV spot, which broke this weekend from FCB’s San Francisco office, depicts hip-hop artist Busta Rhymes having his driver’s license photo taken at a Department of Motor Vehicles office in New York. Rhymes stands quietly, alone in front of the camera, but when the photographer looks through the camera lens, he sees Rhymes at a disco with two women, jamming to his hit song “Dangerous.”
The spot ends with a flash of MTV’s logo as Rhymes delivers the voiceover, “MTV. Music television,” with an emphasis on the word “music.” FCB is currently in production on other TV spots that will break through September.
“We are music and we are television,” said Allan Broce, senior vice president of marketing for MTV in New York. “Sometimes we’re a little bit more of one than the other. But music is clearly the soul of MTV.”
Bryan Singer, director of the feature film The Usual Suspects, directed the spot. The work is reminiscent of FCB’s ads for Levi’s jeans. Brian Bacino, who worked on last year’s branding campaign for Levi’s, is serving as creative director for the MTV campaign.
The network’s decision to re-emphasize music and new artists comes after a decade of focusing heavily on new programming. “MTV wants to put the ‘M’ back in MTV,” noted Patrick Kiss, account director at FCB’s San Francisco office.
FCB won an estimated $20 million branding assignment from MTV last year after a review. The client previously handled most creative duties in-house.