MTV Seeks Agencies for Creative, Media as it Looks to Reinvent Brand

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MTV's 'Wonderland'
MTV's 'Wonderland' Credit: MTV

MTV is seeking agencies for creative and media support as the brand looks to reinvent itself and go back to its music roots, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Ad Age has learned that the reviews are closed and a decision is expected in a few weeks. More than five agencies are taking part in the reviews at the moment. The selected agencies will help MTV promote new content and series and assist with overall brand messaging in an effort to increase viewership, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Fallon is MTV's incumbent media agency. The network does not have a creative agency on its roster. Representatives from Fallon were not immediately available for comment.

In April, the network worked with Party New York on "Equal Pay Day" to highlight the fact that women in the U.S. only get paid 79% of what men earn. At the end of 2015, Y&R New York worked on a risqué, emoji-filled PSA video around World Aids Day for MTV's international division's Staying Alive Foundation.

MTV has been working to rebuild its brand and make it relevant among a new generation of viewers who are increasingly watching content on a variety of platforms and devices.

Last week, MTV and Viacom Velocity named A$AP Rocky as creative director for MTV Labs, the creative incubator developed in partnership with the Harlem-born rapper. Rocky and his creative team, AWGE, will create original content across platforms, experiment with new formats and existing MTV IP and develop branded content for advertisers in partnership with Viacom Velocity.

A big part of MTV's strategy is to pivot back to its music roots. MTV introduced a slate of music-themed programming during its upfront in April, including a music competition series and a reimagined version of "MTV Unplugged." Earlier in the month it debuted "Wonderland," a live weekly music performance series.

In the spring, the network named Major League Baseball vet Jacqueline Parkes as its chief marketing officer.

MTV is currently averaging 477,000 viewers in primetime, down about 8% from the same time last year. And MTV's biggest tentpole event, the "Video Music Awards," continued to see its audience dwindle this summer. The awards show was watched by just 6.5 million viewers on MTV and 10 additional Viacom-owned networks when it aired in August, a 34% decrease from the year prior.

In the wake of ratings erosion, MTV has been focusing on its digital success. MTV said the VMAs drew 62.8 million digital streams, up 70% from 2015 and on the night it aired, the awards show accounted for 90% of all TV-centric social media posts. It's also been heavily promoting its Snapchat channel.

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