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Brief Published: 26 Jun 2015

MTV’s Viewer-Generated Look

MTV hands itself over to its audience

US music and youth culture broadcaster MTV has a new image that reflects the dense, remixed visuals its viewers use to communicate online. The new identity was created under senior vice president of visual storytelling and deputy editorial director Richard Turley, who was previously much admired for his work as creative director of Bloomberg Business Week. It offers a highly saturated and clashing mix of rainbow-coloured glitches, flying food, anthropomorphic animals, human shapes from the uncanny valley and – of course – kittens and unicorns.

Not simply copying its viewers' behaviour, the broadcaster has also updated its inaugural "I want my MTV" tagline for this generation. Under the banner "I am my MTV", viewers can now contribute directly to the programme by tagging their vines, tweets, Instagrams and other social media content with #MTVbump. A proprietary content management system then picks up and filters the content and feeds it into the live television broadcast hours later.

As the visual style is lifted from online cultures, its language transcends regional borders and will be applied to all of MTV's territories – with allowance for local variety and longevity. "Things might be trending in Asia a couple of years before Europe and America. We've really made it a lot easier for the regions to play around more with the elements and, at the same time, we're able to refresh it every few months," MTV's vice-president of creative and marketing Sean Saylor told Creative Review.

Saylor also said the company is hoping the new system will help to re-establish MTV as a hub for fresh talent: "We're really looking at visual art but in later phases, we want to look at just talent in general – people doing interesting things on Vine or Instagram. They can come to our brand, and we'll expose them to a larger audience." Doubtlessly, the #MTVbump feed will also help the broadcaster spot trends early and be lighter on its feet in responding to the shifting interests and communication styles of its audiences.

For more on Gen Z's consumer-creator culture – where this style came from – see our Born on the Web Industry Trend.