The Background

The one country that showed the world how to overcome the most extreme kind of entrenched Racism 21 years ago is today experiencing a rise in racial intolerance.

The very generation that was born into a democratic South Africa is facing new forms of intolerance. As a generation they are disconnected from the relevance of Human Rights Day: The Sharpeville Massacre in 1969. A day now adopted by the UN as Global Anti-Racism Day.

MTV has embraced anti-racism globally, starting in January 2015 in the US. Considering what South Africa overcame in 1995 and what they are faced with today, it seemed the perfect territory to once again take up and ignite the racism debate among the youth.

The Idea

So, on the 21st of March, for 24 hours, we converted our entire channel and social platforms into black and white. Every scheduled program was converted into black and white. Every ad was removed and replaced with bespoke interviews that featured young South Africans sharing their views on race and human rights. We created bespoke channel idents using song lyrics in different languages that highlight the need to look beyond race. And the conversation we enabled was integrated into a ticker-tape on the television broadcast.

The Results

The conversation trended through-out the day, a day where the youth traditionally disengage from social media and broadcast. We achieved 21.8 million Twitter impressions in 24 hours. The conversation was picked up and added to by people from all over the world.

We encouraged and empowered a conversation on one of the continent’s most powerful youth-focused media platforms. And the conversation is continuing with even more race-focused content on the channel and across our social media platforms. The brand added depth to its reputation as a youth-entertainment channel among an audience that was never exposed to the early history of MTV as a youth-focused agitator.

Interviews & Idents