Subtlety has never been MTV’s strong suit, nor did it ever really need to be. Being crass worked fine, from Beavis and Butt-head to Tom Green. But if you think about the channel’s transition from purveyor of music cool to shoveler of reality trash, it has been surprisingly gradual. It might seem like MTV served as a middleman between the alternative hip (Andy Warhol had a show!) and the consumerist mainstream, and then, one day… boom Snooki! But just think about how long people have been decrying the lack of music videos on MTV. Today, the network officially removes the words “Music Television” from its logo, and sure, it’s belated, but now it’s real and it has a lot to do with Jersey Shore.
More than ever, MTV is trading in “reality” — and soon to be scripted television — leaving its legacy willfully forgotten. The MTV logo we knew and loved existed in the above incarnation since 1981, with only the ‘M’ morphing to fit varied programming or moments. For a quarter century the main symbol stayed the same while screen text and graphics entered the future to plug the next episode of Laguna Beach or Date My Mom. Long after Carson Daly introduced his last Papa Roach video on Total Request Live, “Music Television” clung to the corner of the screen. Now, the station’s target audience is too young for the “Where’s the music?” query, and MTV is finally free of its original responsibility. Basically, it’s a Situation.
Here’s the word from MTV on the new design, barely different aesthetically, but wholly symbolic:
It represents a new visually defined MTV, stimulating its past, present and future and embracing it’s diversity. Everything from Jersey Shore, to the VMAs to collaborations with the MoMA. The logo is part of MTV’s re-invention to connect with today’s millennial generation and bring them in as part of the channel.
What it represents is a template: the guts of the new logo are disposable — easily swapped, replaced and updated. Who are we laughing at today? Take a peek inside the new MTV logo and you’ll know. Speaking of, have you seen these SnookiShops?