[7 July 2008]
Obama and McCain get their MTV! Since it’s conception in 1981, the network has refused political advertising, even turning away Obama’s offer for an ad earlier this year during the primaries. MTV has diplomatically encouraged the importance of the young vote up until now through campaigns such as “Choose or Lose” and “Rock the Vote.” The “Choose or Lose” campaign was introduced in 1992, the same year that Bill Clinton played the saxophone on MTV during his presidential run.
While sister networks such as Spike TV, VH1 and Comedy Central (home to the liberally charged Daily Show and The Colbert Report) have accepted political ads in previous elections, MTV has declined inclusion. For the first time MTV will allow candidates to buy advertisement space for their campaigns, though third parties will still be excluded from this agreement.
MTV is undoubtedly a viable tool for attracting young voters and in an election whose verdict may be determined by the under 30 turnout, every kid counts. A recent study calculated that more than 6.5 million persons, ages 18-29, voted in the primaries and caucuses this year. Since 2000, the youth vote has risen from 9% to 17%.
The decision is projected to be most beneficial for Obama who has already received overwhelming support from contemporary musicians such as the Arcade Fire, will.i.am. and My Morning Jacket. Artists have shown their support for the Democratic candidate through rallies, benefit shows and even customized songs.
Jeannie Kedas, executive VP-communications for MTV’s music networks said, “We re-evaluated the MTV policy and decided that campaign-approved ads would be a good fit for our audience, and would complement our ‘Choose or Lose’ campaign efforts.” Kedas also added, “It’s a good thing when candidates want to reach out to young people, and the best way to do that is through MTV.”
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/article/mtv-gets-political/