Shades of “Dick’ in Fallon’s MTV Ads

Channel’s First Off-Network Image Effort in 3 Years Follows a Review
NEW YORK-Four brothers live an isolated existence somewhere in the Scandinavian woods, untouched by modern life or personal hygiene. Their only contact with the outside world? MTV.
That’s the concept behind Fallon McElligott’s new image advertising-the client’s first in three years-for the cable channel, which breaks this week.
In each of the five spots, the hillbilly Jukka brothers watch MTV, often mimicking what they see. The eldest brother gives his siblings various spot tests of hipness, such as doing a “sexy” dance or wearing the right shoes. The youngest Jukka fails each miserably, and he is punished at the end of each spot with a ping-pong paddle and a stencil that leaves an MTV logo on the reddened flesh of his behind.
The ads, shot in a weird, pale-green cast, have a similar feel to the agency’s “Dick” work for Miller Lite-not surprising since art director Paul Malmstrom and copywriter Linus Karlsson worked on both.
The $5-10 million campaign, which will include outdoor and postcard efforts, reinforces the network’s desire to get back to its roots: music videos. It breaks on cable and national spot TV and will air globally in July.
MTV is looking to capitalize on the surge of viewership that comes as teens finish school. “We really wanted to do something that was out there, but was anchored by this message of, “If you watch MTV, you stay in touch with what’s cool,'” said Jamie Barrett, the New York agency’s executive creative director.
Fallon got the work after pitching the story of the Jukka brothers in a review a few months ago. The agency bested roster shops Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco, 180 in Amsterdam and MTV’s own creative department, said Allan Broce, MTV’s senior vice president of advertising. Asked why MTV chose Fallon, Broce said, “It was all about the work … We fell in love with the concept.”
MTV’s last image campaign, in 1996, depicted different elements of the network’s image. It was shot by guest directors, such as Michael Moore and REM’s Michael Stipe.
MTV has seen recent double-digit ratings gains with 12-24-year-olds.