MK is

Interview with 1984: MK is…



We did a post about MK is a while ago and asked if you had any questions for the creative team behind the campaign. Here’s a recap:


An interesting campaign by Ogilvy Joburg’s content division, 1984 for M-net music channel MK. Instead of the traditional logo/pay-off line/brand message, MK and 1984 have created three characters who define the channel. The unbranded campaign follows the lives of three characters online through facebook, twitter and a blog that’s updated daily with anecdotes, pics and video footage that take a gritty and honest look at South African youth and popular culture.


Simply called MK is… the campaign lets the audience interact with the characters and ultimately draw their own conclusions as to what or who MK is. The three character journeys each have a lifespan of 20 days and get up to a lot in that time. Daily episodes on the MK channel are synchronised with daily facebook posts, blog entries and tweets that fill in the rest of the story.


1984 were kind enough to get back to us with the answers to our questions about their intriguing campaign:


Between 10and5: Was it a challenge to sell a largely unbranded campaign to the client?

1984: The campaign doesn’t have a logo or tagline, but the campaign is called MK is, which means the brand is not positioned at the end of the entertainment as per traditional campaigns, but has become the entertainment itself. So it wasn’t really a challenge.


10and5: The perception amongst consumers has been that MK is predominantly a white Afrikaans channel. Is this campaign aiming to change that?

1984: MK is not a target market, and hopefully this campaign will change that perception. It simply aims to broaden it to everyone who can relate to either one of the characters or storylines or those that are just simply loving the music.


10and5: How did you decide on the characters for the campaign and how do they define the brand?

1984: The characters were developed to represent the Zeitgeist of South African youth and popular culture and in turn, the brand. In this way, deciding on the characters was really just a matter of creating a series of realistic stories, moments and scenarios that viewers would be able to relate to.


10and5: The first character we were introduced to was a tattooed, rock-loving white boy from the city out on the open road. We’re currently getting to know the second character of the campaign, a straight-talking, black, female musician. How have followers reacted to the transition?

1984: The transition from one character to the next is essential to the overall campaign idea – it is at this moment where we literally demonstrate the transient, indefinable nature of the brand and its viewers. The reaction to the transition has been positive so far and the campaign’s following is continually growing.


10and5: Can you tell us anything about character number three?

1984: Let’s just say he’s an Afrikaans boy from Worcester.


10and5: The campaign seems to blur between reality and fiction. Are these characters purely fictional – hired actors to feature in the videos and agency writers to do blog updates – or have you found three people who embody the brand who are writing as themselves?

1984: Although we had a broad outline of ‘who, what and where’ for each character, we felt it was essential to make use of people whose personalities would suit and better each story. Blog posts and texts were predominantly written by the people who filmed each character story, with the exception of a few additions by 1984.


10and5: How was the footage shot?

1984: We used a small HD camera with a chest harness that enabled the characters to move freely, allowing them to go about their business without feeling overly aware of the camera.


10and5: Is the aim for followers to think they’re interacting with real people on the facebook and twitter accounts or do you want people to know that they’re conversing with the brand?

1984: We want people to converse with the brand as if it were as much of an individual as they are.


10and5: Have you found people have been open to interacting with the characters?

1984: Because it is such a novel idea we didn’t expect the interactions to take off immediately. 25 days into the campaign however, we’re starting to really see a strong following and a steady increase in the number of direct character interactions.


10and5:   Will there be a campaign conclusion or a big ending?

1984: Yes.


Thanks for your time 1984.


Check out MK is for yourselves on the blog, twitter or facebook.






Between 10 and 5