Today MTV unveiled the first promo, “Canvas,” to launch the creative campaign for the 2016 “MTV Video Music Awards.” The spot pays homage to the “VMAs” at Madison Square Garden for the first time in its history, offering an awe-inspiring black and white portrait of the world’s most famous arena as a gift; a blank canvas on which each performer will express unparalleled artistry and vision.
Anthony Mandler, one of today’s top commercial and video music directors, directed “Canvas.” He has helmed over 15 of Rihanna’s music videos and directed videos for Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Drake, Eminem, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake, to name a few. The theme song of the campaign, “Do Your Thing” by Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, serves as the featured music in the spot with Swizz Beatz lending his powerful voice to the spot.
As MTV locks in performers for the show (all still to be announced), each performer will select a signature Pantone color and message, and MTV will commission a visual artist or filmmaker to bring their words and vision to life via a 30-second content piece. This content will then be incorporated into the larger campaign. With each artist, a new color and creative piece will be added to the VMAs palette, filling in this blank canvas and advising the scheme for entire campaign (and ultimately the show). The result will be a campaign that’s highly personal, artist driven and reflective of this year’s main show look and feel. Additional works of art will be released throughout the campaign that feature each performing talent’s own words as to why the VMA stage is one of the greatest opus of which they dream.
This year’s campaign follows the 2015 “VMAs” campaign which won four coveted Cannes Lion awards.