MTV Tr3s 'Gets' the Joke

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MTV Tr3s is reaching out to viewers in a comedic way with a new image campaign featuring the Austin, Texas-based Latino Comedy Project.

The network has created eight spots with the theme “We Get You.” Four of the ads are currently airing, but the network will debut four new spots before the end of the year. The image effort will run through the end of December.

“We strive to always have fresh material” before the audience of the bilingual channel, said MTV Tr3s vice president of on-air promos Amy Campbell. For the new campaign, marketers began by discussing the on-air content the network has already highlighted: music and cultural issues.

“We really wanted to have some humor in the spots,” she said. Executives sought out comedic talent, and found the Austin troupe, a sketch comedy ensemble sponsored by the bilingual theater company Teatro Humanidad.

In one spot called “Band,” the camera focuses on a living room wall while hard rock music can be heard pounding in the background. The camera pans slowly to another room where the “metal head” fans are revealed to be a full mariachi band.

In another spot, called “Abuela (Grandmother) Microwave,” a Caucasian worker microwaves some non-descript food for lunch. Then, a Latino co-worker enters the break room and places an empty plate in the appliance. When the timer sounds, a grandma pops her head out of the oven and hands a plate of homemade food to the worker, cooing in Spanish and pinching his cheek.

One of the most relateable spots for MTV Tr3s's audience: a Caucasian teacher gesticulates and talks loudly about a high-school aged girl, trying to communicate to her parents that the student skips class, talks too much and has very bad grades. The girl, translating for her parents, states the teacher said she's glad to meet the couple, is pleased to have the student in her class and asks her parents to transmit any further questions through her. The delighted parents hug the teacher and congratulate themselves on their bright daughter.

MTV worked with the comedy group to create concepts for the spots, which were then scripted by the cable network team. The 30- to 45-second spots “look at bicultural moments when groups collide in a funny way,” Campbell said. They were designed to reflect age groups from middle school to mid-20s, she said. Everyone had suggestions, she said, recalling, for instance, schoolmates who had the name Jesus (hay-soos) mispronounced by some teacher as “jee-sus.”

Besides lending its insights to the campaign, some troupe members were also cast in the spots.

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