'Talking Baby' Speaks for MTV2, 'A Whole 'Nother Channel'

In its latest move to differentiate itself from its bigger sibling, MTV2 has created a bizarre new marketing campaign built around "Talking Baby."

Talking Baby — actually a doll — will be the music network's brash ad "spokesman" in four television commercials, scheduled to break July 14 and due to run for five weeks, said MTV2 general manager David Cohn.

Cohn said the network's ad agency, Charlotte, N.C.-based Boone/Oakley, created the concept of the off-center puppet show, in which the handler's hands are clearly seen on-camera. The images are flanked by "A Whole 'Nother Channel," an accompaniment to the "MTV2 — Where the Music's At" tagline, created by the network and in use since February.

Besides cross-channel spots on cable and on satellite providers DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp., the four commercials will run in a spot-TV buy across six major markets — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and Seattle, Cohn said. In addition, there will be a spot-radio push, starting July 28.

In one 30-second spot, the fresh-talking doll says, "It must be pretty easy being a program guy for MTV2 'cause all they do is music … That's all they play is music! It's not MTV."

Addressing a young woman in another spot who has mentioned the rock group The White Stripes, the talking baby with attitude shouts, "You don't know … They're awesome! They're on MTV2."

In another :30, he mentions that Jay-Z and Beyoncé are in a music video airing on the network.

Cohn conceded that those video clips also run on MTV and elsewhere, but receive a lot more air time on MTV2.

Executives at MTV: Music Television were forewarned about the new campaign, Cohn said: "It's because of its success that we can be so bold."

Cohn, however, does not see its tack as similar to that of Rainbow Media Holdings Inc.-owned rival Fuse, which a year ago (as Muchmusic USA) began taking shots at MTV's lack of music videos and its ad clutter.

Instead, he said, "we offer a different point of view" that appeals to MTV2's target demo — the 12-to-34 set, with particular emphasis on 18-to-34-year-olds.

He projected that MTV2 will reach 50 million households later this year.