[Manic Monday] MTV EXIT; Entertainment + Digital For Pro-Social Causes

3 mins read
September 10, 2012

I think all of my articles to this date have been talking about the digital entertainment business and how various parts of that business- the artist or musician, the music label, the movie studio, the service provider, and so on – on how to create new business or expand on existing ones. In other words, how to make money. But it became apparent to me that digital entertainment is not always just about money, and I need to talk about something that uses digital entertainment to promote pro-social causes.

There are many pro-social movements that employ digital elements totheir campaigns, but I’d like to discuss about a pro-social movementthat uses a very familiar brand: MTV. Everybody knows MTV – whether or not they remain relevant in today’s entertainment scene will remain tobe seen – but not many people know that there are some pro-social movements using the MTV brand that are actually separate entities from MTV.

There’s MTV Staying Alive, which promotes AIDS awareness; there’s MTV Switch, which promotes environmental issues, and MTV EXIT, which promotes awareness of humantrafficking.

Now these MTV-branded foundations do not report to MTV; they are funded from different donors and have no money linking them to MTV, but there is a cooperation that happens between these foundations and their parent brand in the use of communicating these causes throughall the MTV channels, and catering to the same audience as well to enhance the message.

The MTV brand and concept is leveraged to make sure the message is packaged and delivered in a way that relates to the youth, as opposed to having some government official saying stuff on some boring PSA.

MTV EXIT just recently held MTV EXIT Live In Bandung, as a kick-off event for spreading awareness about human trafficking to Indonesian youth. The concert itself was part of a series of events which, among others, launched Enslaved: An MTV EXIT Special, a human trafficking documentary hosted by Dian Sastrowardoyo, and the launch of a special videoclip and remake of a D’Masiv song, ‘Natural’; all designed to raise awareness of the issue to the youth.

As with almost all pro-social campaigns, the key drive is to get the message out as much as it can, and make sure people who engage withthe campaign are educated about the issue. The campaign opened with a press conference and press release for the event and the documentary, after which people could book their free tickets to the event by registering through Facebook.

Those who registered early were entitled to receive a special MTV EXIT RFID wristband that they can use at the event. In the following week, MTV EXIT launched act.mtvexit.org as a page where people could find out more about the issue of human trafficking,and spread the word to their friends (and win some nice prizes in the process).

The concert itself was free but you had to get a ticket, to make sure the campaign could deliver campaign messages direct to the audience even before the concert. And once you were at the concert, you could use your MTV EXIT RFID wristband to “check-in” at the various sponsor booths and take a photo at the RFID photobooth – each point enabling the spread of awareness of human trafficking to the user’s social networks.

The core objective of the concert, of course, was to gather people and spread the message. Artists that were suitable for the target audience were recruited: D’Masiv, Changchuters, Kikan, Winner, Rosemary, PAS Band and many more, and even Australian band Expatriates. The audience got to see their favorite bands on stage, while the artists also conveyed awareness of human trafficking to the audience. Throughout the concert venue, youth volunteers went through the crowd and delivered the message verbally to smaller groups.

Since action to stop human trafficking can only be done by enforcement agencies, foundations like MTV EXIT have to be able to amplify awareness as far as they can to make sure high-risk groups are aware of the danger of suspicious job solicitations or strange work conditions.

And what better way to spread the message,than to employ music (and entertainment), and amplify the message digitally. The concept of MTV EXIT ensures that the message is delivered more optimally to the youth, and an integrated campaign between offline activities (RFID wristbands, youth volunteer sessions, the concert itself) with online actions (Facebook campaigns, task checklist on act.mtvexit.org) enhances the spread of the message further.

Disclosure: the digital campaign for MTV EXIT Live In Bandung was supported by Think.Web, a sister company of Wooz.in, who supplied thesocial amplification system using RFID (where I also work); and the PR was handled by TalkLink PR, another Think.web sister company.

Ario is a co-founder of Ohd.io, an Indonesian music streaming service. He worked in the digital music industry in Indonesia from 2003 to 2010, and recently worked in the movie and TV industry in Vietnam. Keep up with him on Twitter at @barijoe or his blog onhttp://barijoe.wordpress.com.


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