WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA? SPANKING THE FLUNKY

By Published on .

MTV's first off-air image campaign in three years debuted last month, via Fallon McElligott/New York, and unless you've been living in a hut in the woods, you're now familiar with the vaguely Finnish quartet known as the Jukka Brothers: Three country bumpkins who watch MTV incessantly, and one who doesn't watch it at all. He's too busy doing interior decoration in his coffin-size cabin. In spots that are equal parts Monty Python and Deliverance, this uncool brother, Little Jukka, keeps getting his bare butt stenciled with an MTV logo by the paddle-wielding Big Jukka, as punishment for being so square. All the brothers seem to enjoy the cheek-flogging. The hipper brothers like it almost as much as wrestling each other. Given MTV's influence on young viewers' minds, recreational stencil- spanking may soon be all the rage.

So how does something this latently kinky see the light of day? As FM/New York creative director Jamie Barrett explains it, "MTV wanted to create a buzz in an interesting and fresh way. The challenge was, how far out can we go with this campaign and still have it tethered to the ground with a message -- the message being, MTV is still the place to go to find out what's happening and what's cool." Then why are the MTV-addicted brothers such dorks? "There's also a subtext that there's something a little crazy about the notion of calling things cool and uncool," Barrett says. "It's meant to work on that level, too."

The creative team's premise was, "If you remove all the social and cultural influences from a group of people, except for MTV, what would that be like?" Just a guess: like four incestuously gay Finns? Wrong. They're not Finns. "They were never meant to be from a certain place," says Barrett. That the actors are in fact three Finns and a Swede has to do with the nutty Nordics at Traktor, a directing team that frequently casts offbeat foreigners. "We wanted them to be from somewhere off the map, where the postman doesn't deliver," says Barrett. "We're not knocking Finns. The Jukkas are just oddball guys."

No argument there. And what about the homoerotic undertones? Barrett won't even acknowledge them. "The spanking thing is meant to be silly, funny, stupid and crazy," is all he'll say. "It's just making a point in a memorable way. It's a neat way of branding MTV."

As are Little Jukka's battered buns. Hey, is that a real behind we're looking at? "It's not Little Jukka's, but it's a male's ass," Barrett assures.

In this article:
Most Popular