Remember when MTV played music? Better yet, remember from way back from when MTV didn’t even exist? I am sure most of us do! I can vividly remember the first time I got to watch MTV. I had seen music videos before but only when I sneaked a peak at the late night video shows like Friday Night Videos.
When MTV launched in the United States in 1981,cable television wasn’t even close to being in everybody’s home and those that did have cable might be using a provider that didn’t carry MTV in their package.
So, MTV went launched the viral ‘I want my MTV!’ campaign that had youth across the land using the phrase to demand their cable providers add MTV. The phrase became such a part of the language of the time that Dire Straits even included it (sung by Sting) in their Money For Nothing song.
As part of this campaign, MTV called in some hip and happening music stars of the time. Even well into the 80′s when most people had managed to get their MTV, the station kept the tradition of getting the music stars of the time do these commercials for the station. Check out these clips from the I Want My MTV campaign and see just which 80′s music start were getting in on the act.
This is the first ever image shown on MTV and ever since then the image of the man planting an MTV flag on the moon has become linked with the station’s identity. The MTV music award is modeled after the image.
Then we had Cindy Lauper, Sting, Billy Idol, David Bowie and Boy George get involved for this hyper neon attack on the senses. If Billy Idol said too much was never enough and David Bowie wanted his MTV then who on earth was going to argue?
Sting was back again for this “I want my MTV!” commercial that mainly featured The Police cut in (for some reason) with a bit of Pat Benetar.
Of course you couldn’t have MTV in the 1980′s without Madonna getting into the act. This was one of her very own MTV commercials in the height of her Material Girl period.
This one is nearly the same as before but with the music doing most of the talking apart from Pat Benetar at the end putting on the ‘call your cable company’ pressure.
This format of the commercial must have worked for them because they repeated it often but with a different mix of 80′s music stars.