Fuse is Canada's old, dull MuchMusic with a new name, a new look and a new effort to unseat MTV from its perennial youth culture throne. Yeah, that'll happen. At any rate, the notion is off to an interesting start with a launch campaign from New York startup Amalgamated (a shop that eschews individual credits), which is led by a bunch of ex-Cliff Freemanites. And in keeping with the Cliff mentality, the campaign kicked off with inspired posters featuring bloated has-been Sally Struthers making a mercy plea for unwatched music videos. The initial round of TV takes on MTV directly with a parody of the Beach House concept, in which the Fuse Beach House is a hovel with an empty pool and a small group of losers trying and largely failing to party. How exactly does this position Fuse as anything besides the Music Channel With No Money? According to Amalgamated strategy director Doug Cameron, they're "attacking MTV's Achilles' heel. Shows like Sorority Girls and Beach House were making MTV's core viewers think that the brand was chasing ratings," he says. "Deep down, people know that MTV has sold out to people who don't even care about music. The Fuse Beach House is our iconic way of exposing MTV for what it is - a once-cool brand that has now sold out." OK. Putting aside the issue of MTV2, where the music is, why make Fuse look so damn pathetic? "Underdogging," explains Cameron. "People have a natural tendency to side with the underdog. Teens, in particular, are increasingly siding with brands that they feel sorry for, that look out of place in the world of modern marketing. You see this in the popularity of Camaros, T-shirts with old logos like Atari or Mr. Clean, and mullet hairstyles. By framing Fuse as the underdog, we're hoping that teens will use Fuse to rebel against yuppie, elitist brands like MTV." Could this be genius? Wait, look at that guy in the Camaro! He's got a mullet and he's wearing a . . .
Client: Fuse Agency: Amalgamated Director: Jacobs/Briere/HKM Editor: Lucas Spaulding/Cosmo Street