Just as Roberto Rossellini dissected the lives of the common man to expose realism, an unorthodox and ground-breaking campaign has been launched by Ogilvy’s 1984 to tell the diverse stories of M-Net’s MK audience.  Taking a brutally honest look at the South African youth culture through the eyes of a lens, the hope is to expose the undefinable nature of individuals.







The campaign, titled ‘MK is…‘, is based on the observation that much like its audience MK is many different things, but that ultimately it simply is.  ‘Mk is…’ the journey of three individuals followed over the course of 20 days allowing a voyeuristic view into their lives and identifying similar and dissimilar aspects of life. In this way the audience is able to draw their own conclusions about Mk based on their own experiences and parallelisms. Adding to the interactive nature of the campaign, Facebook posts are synchronized with each episode which will fill in the timelines and movements of the characters on whom the spotlight focuses on.

In keeping with the theme of realism the 60 episode campaign was shot with no script, no schedule, and a single video camera in the capable hands of renowned American Apparel photographer Purienne, who made the long trip from LA simply because he fell in love with the idea. The resulting footage is gritty, unrefined and honest, and more often than not, pretty controversial too. The only link the MK has to the show is that it’s screened on the channel,  choosing an interesting new angle on promoting the show by dropping all logos and slogan. However seeing as it’s an MK show, the music has been a priority to the production and as such choosing to showcase local artists was of the utmost importance. The episodes feature original tracks by some of South Africa’s lesser-known artists that are making great waves abroad: from ex pats living in Taiwan, to bands releasing 12 inches in Chicago, each episode actively seeks to broaden South Africa’s musical horizons.

Ogilvy has turned the traditional approach on its head, choosing instead to let the audience draw its own conclusions about what, and who, ‘MK is…’