MTV launched a campaign titled, “Look Different” sometime in July of 2015 during the Video Music Awards. The campaign released a commercial titled, “White Squad” and it is one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen on television.
They released a commercial that “posits a Geek Squad-style team of chalk-hued, corporate-consultant types eager to assist people of color with stuff like hailing cabs, renting apartments and courtroom appearances”. The spokesperson made statements such as, “Is your skin color holding you back? Are you tired of systemic prejudice ruining your day?” and many other extremely offensive.
I wish I could come up with a rational “purpose” of why they would release something so offensive, but I can’t come up with anything. Ratings? Media attention? I have no idea, but I’m not at all surprised MTV did release it. MTV has always been known to do some crazy things on their network. Therefore, I don’t really know what their motive was for making up this sort of thing. However, many media sites reported that they think their purpose was to be “satirical” and funny, but there is a fine line when it comes to speaking on specific issues, especially race.
I think this campaign was a social fail because it didn’t connect with the viewers at all. Of course Twitter went in an uproar, and it was tweeted so much that it trended in the #1 trending spot. Most of the tweets that I came across were outraged, from both white and black people. I think that if MTV truly wanted to make a stance on how African-Americans experience injustice on a day-to-day basis, they could’ve done it in a tasteful way. I read this quote that mirrors my exact feelings on the situation. It says, “It kind of came off as though it was making fun of the issue,” one person wrote, “as opposed to actually putting it in a way that says this needs to stop.” I don’t think a person or persons’ injustice is something to be joked about, especially with everything that has been going on in the media; police brutality etc. Maybe MTV did want to make a stance against microaggressions, we will never know, but I do know that next time they want to launch a campaign/commercial they should be more aware of how they’re going to make certain people feel first because as a regular MTV watcher, this campaign made me anti MTV for awhile.
Ad of the Day: People of Color Finally Get White Privilege on Demand With White Squad. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ad-day-people-color-finally-get-white-privilege-demand-white-squad-165948
Dailymail.com, C. S. (2015). ‘It’s ignorant garbage’: MTV under fire from viewers over ‘spoof’ video about racism and white privilege – which it claims is meant to highlight and combat discrimination . Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3170851/MTV-fire-viewers-spoof-video-racism-white-privilege-claims-meant-highlight-combat-discrimination.html
Jenkins, N. (n.d.). New Spoof Ad Takes Controversial Jab at White Privilege. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://time.com/3960382/white-squad-privilege-look-different-mtv-ad-spoof-commercial/
MTV’s Look Different. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.lookdifferent.org/whitesquad
White Squad. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6JrJFJs0GA