Oh No He Didn’t!

A few days ago I wrote an admittedly nostalgic post about MTV.  I fondly recounted the origin of the network and how, at least in the early days, MTV helped to shape my musical knowledge and tastes. That was last week. This week, I am not feeling as generous. Yesterday, Van Toffler, President of MTV Networks, stated that the network was no longer interested in having members of Generation X as part of its audience. “We’re pushing Generation X out,” Toffler said. “We’re slaves to our different audiences, for MTV that’s millennials, who are vastly different than Generation X; they’re definitely less cynical — they’re more civic-minded.”

Okay, I get it. Don’t have to tell me twice. I am no longer a desirable demographic for MTV. That’s fine, but did you really have to announce it? Hey Van, the last time I checked (two seconds ago, on Google) you are also the president of VH1 and VH1 Classic — do you want me to watch those channels? Or am I too pessimistic to get For the Love of Ray J, Let’s Talk About Pep and Celebrity Rehab? Perhaps I am also now too jaded to enjoy Behind the Music?

Is it ever a good idea for a brand to go out-of-the-way to create ill will? Doesn’t seem like a smart strategy to me.

Van (do you mind if I call you Van? You look to be about my age, so I am figuring you won’t), you insulted me and my (your) generation by saying we are a cynical bunch (your words) which by definition means:  1.  like or characteristic of a cynic; distrusting or disparaging the motives of others. 2.  showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one’s actions, esp. by actions that exploit the scruples of others. 3.  bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.

So in response, I will deliberately continue to watch MTV and I will tell every 15-24 year old I meet that I am a viewer! And in addition to sharing this bit of news with them,  I’ll make really lame comments and jokes about what I’ve seen; the type of comments and jokes that only an out of touch old lady would make. I won’t, however, watch any of the other networks you run, you know the ones that I am allowed to watch. And finally, I’ll write a blog post about it ’cause that’s what bitterly or sneeringly distrustful people do.
Van Toffler, a.k.a. the alienator

What do you think? Smart move for MTV’s head honcho to publicly kick Gen X to the curb? How about his pronouncement that the younger set (you know the ones who idolize Heidi and Spencer) are more civically minded?  According to Toffler, “Millennials are really about authentic reality and family.”

12 responses

  1. You go girl! I am right there with you. And you are hilarious!
    – your cynical Gen X+ friend in ATL (I don’t know what Gen I am, but my guess is it’s one slightly more cynical and definitely older than yours:-) Van probably kicked me out 10 years ago

  2. Geez. I am sure this part and parcel of some larger Orwellian plot to assert unchecked influence over the still soft minds of his targeted demo. Can’t have any healthy cynicism/objectivity interfering with his high-minded “I know best” steering of tomorrow’s culture.

    I will now watch for the same reasons I watch MSNBC.

  3. Yeah! You tell em’ Jennifer. “Van” might not mind also being reminded that it is..uhem…WE who made MTV what it is today. They obviously must have forgotten about that little detail.

  4. You are so funny! In my opinion, this Van dude is in denial of his actual age and is “chewing his nose off to spite his face” so to speak by alienating us Gen xers. Sounds like he’s got some major “age-ist” issues to sort out. Not a good idea to drag his peers thru the mud…not sure if he’s even interested in trying to acknowledge that fact to sort it out.

    Ironically, many of us were the original demographic that MTV targeted, am I right? There is a major missed opportunity that Van and his team have overlooked. Most of us have spawned our own young and they in turn are the new target material. But- there could be some marketing strategies that could bridge the generation gaps so that we Gen Xers could wax nostalgic and bond with our kiddos…

    • Good points Mama Lee! I think the MTV Pres. also forgot who pays for the stuff the kiddies want. This is about advertising dollars. The MTV target demographic, according to Toffler, is 12-29. Last time I checked, the economy wasn’t doing a good job of supporting people in the age range of 12-22–which means mom and dad are footing the bill.

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