Racial intolerance has experienced a resurgence across the globe.
Sadly, the one country that showed the world how to overcome the most extreme kind of entrenched Racism 21 years ago is today experiencing a rise in racial intolerance. The very generation that was born into a democratic South Africa is now facing the same racism their parents fought so hard to overcome.
Our objective was to start a conversation amongst this young, bright, positive, diverse generation so that they would start tackling this intolerance head-on.
The 21st of March 2016 was declared as the International Day against Racism. As a brand that’s never been afraid of controversy, we decided to add some fuel to the conversation. So on that day, we removed the colour from our channel, turning it into a platform to talk about race and racism. #letstalkcolour appeared on all content, all day, and a ticker tape was added to our broadcast to air our audience’s views in real time.
For the 21st of March, all advertising was removed from the channel and replaced with unique interviews of our audience letting them share their opinions and views and ways to unite via social platforms. Unique idents were also created to fuel the conversation.
Our audience is the MTV audience: young, urban, social and digitally connected. They're big on what's hot right now, but not very big on their history nor human rights and how they are connected to the fight against racism.
Our strategy was simple: use the content of the channel, the brand assets and the social platforms to cut through and challenge an audience that has become adept at avoiding advertising.
We converted our entire channel (broadcast included) and social platforms into black and white.
Every scheduled program was converted into black and white. Every ad was removed and replaced with bespoke interviews that featured young South Africans sharing their views on race and human rights.
We created bespoke channel idents using song lyrics in different languages that highlight the need to look beyond race. And the conversation we enabled online was integrated into a tickertape on the television broadcast.
The conversation trended through-out the day, a day where the youth traditionally disengage from social media and broadcast. We achieved 21.8 million Twitter impressions in 24 hours. The conversation was picked up and added to by people from all over the world.
We encouraged and empowered a conversation on one of the continent’s most powerful youth-focused media platforms. And the conversation is continuing with even more race-focused content on the channel and across our social media platforms. The brand added depth to its reputation as a youth-entertainment channel among an audience that was never exposed to the early history of MTV as a youth-focused agitator.