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Making the Grade: MTV’s New Logo

MTV’s iconic logo recently got a facelift – or a tummy tuck, to be more accurate. It’s been years since the MTV mother channel has played an entire music video, opting instead for trashy reality shows like Jersey Shore, and the slogan “Music Television” has become completely irrelevant. The new logo is more transparent, and slices off the bottom of the famous image, including the part that says “Music Television.” “Music is still at the center of so much of what we do, but we’ve really expanded what that means,” MTV general manager Stephen Friedman said in a statement that makes no sense. “It’s an updating that speaks to [our] audience in a much simpler, bolder way.” Branding Ideas thinks not. If you’re going to mess with something as iconic as the MTV brand, at least put some effort and creativity into it. The new logo is lazy and misguided. We give it a big fat D.

M Is for "Evolve"

No, we don’t need a lesson on the alphabet. But a post on’s TV blog Tuned In yesterday got us thinking about the evolution of branding. The “M” in MTV hasn’t really stood for “music” since the early ’90s, and a new press release announcing the pop culture cable network’s “diverse new programming slate,” which includes reality, fashion, sports, comedy, and animation, proves that MTV has no intention of returning to music videos any time soon. None of these genres are particularly new to MTV, but the focus of the programs will purportedly be on the Millennial generation that helped put Barack Obama in the White House. According to TIME’s James Poniewozik, the “M” in MTV now stands for “Millennials.” The evolution of MTV’s brand over the last quarter century has been remarkable. The network’s programmers have always managed to tap into, if not help mold, the zeitgeist, whether it was reality television in the early ’90s (The Real World), obsession with material things later in the decade (House of Style, Cribs), or teen-pop fanatacism (TRL). Now, MTV wants to grow up. The new slate of programming will include shows that reflect the optimism and can-do spirit of Millennials. Poniewozik is cynical about the endeavor, but what MTV realizes is that evolution is essential to the long-term success of any business, and growing your business means growing, and evolving, your brand. Even if your target audience isn’t teenagers, it’s essential to be aware of current trends. Knowing what’s going on in the world, not just what’s going on in your industry, can be a useful tool in branding your company or product and elevating it to the next level.