MTV used to be known for promoting heartthrob artists, playing music videos, and helping define pop culture — creating a cult following made up of mostly teenagers from the ’80s.
But the iconic channel, owned by Viacom, has since declined in its ratings and lost its mojo with young people with the rise of the internet. So in the era of emojis, cat videos, and tumblr, MTV International decided to churn out a rebrand shown in the video “MTV 2015 – Look & feel” to beckon the millennials back home — but some people are confused at the new direction.
So what exactly does that look like? The short answer is basically what you would imagine might if “GIF: The Movie” was directed by someone on acid — starring Grumpy Cat, psychedelic hot dogs, rainbow unicorns, and SIM characters. The trippy new look is far different than MTV’s last redesign which featured clean-looking fonts and a blocky aesthetic in 2010.
There’s another change: the famous slogan “I Want My MTV” has changed, but only one word “I Am My MTV”, possibly indicating a direction toward the current generation of heavy self-expression.
MTV International’s creative vice president Sean Saylor was in charge of the new brand image that he described as “online, on-air.”
“[Our team said] ‘How can we make sure that we can rebrand the channel, but in a way that we can refresh it constantly, so we’re not stuck to a certain look and feel that will look old in six months?'” Saylor said to The Creative Review. “[The audience] is making images to respond to comments, emojis have really blown up, so we wanted to take that and apply it.”
MTV’s makeover might also have been influenced by Richard Turley, who MTV poached from Bloomberg Businessweek. Turley was responsible for designing some compelling yet controversial covers., including last year’s “Hedge Fund Myth” cover which had phallic imagery.
Some people are scared. Others are amused. Here’s what some Twitter users had to say:
MTV rebrand is fucked up in a good way!
— Jahl Herapath (@jahlherapath) June 28, 2015
Don’t know how I feel about MTV’s rebrand. It’s kinda terrible/ awesome/ vomit/ brilliant. I’m off for a think
— Nick Ellis (@Nickhalo01) June 27, 2015
That new MTV rebrand makes tumblr look like the MoMA.
— Yosef (@yosefadavans) June 30, 2015