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MTV uses digital trash to curb plastic pollution with #MTVTrashTalk

MTV is the universe of the young. Being India’s  number one youth entertainment brand, it gets a lot of love, but with great love, comes some hate too, especially in the form of online trolls.

With a mammoth community of 25MN+ across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, one of the highest for any brand in India, all kinds of trolling are common to MTV and its talent. MTV decided to turn this online Trash Talk into something meaningful. For each trashy comment on social media, MTV cleaned 1 kg of plastic off the streets for every trashy comment posted on its social handles. 

While most symbols of evil can be destroyed, the one like single-use plastic stays forever. It lives on, adding to the waste that is choking our planet. So, with Dussehra around the corner, the brand decided to collect all the Trash Talk it receives on social media and clean the digital filth with a physical manifestation of it on the day that marks the victory of good over evil.

Navin Shenoy, Marketing Head, Youth, Music, and English Entertainment, Viacom18, says "Today's youth is extremely invested and passionate about causes like the environmental hazards of plastic and climate change. As a creative powerhouse with a finger on the pulse of youth, we are always creating and curating campaigns to catalyze their minds and bring about positive impact. Since MTV is known for having a fun take on everything and being a brand that battles trolls on an everyday basis, we thought why not this Dusshera, let good win over the two biggest evils plaguing today’s society- trash online and trash offline! This was the genesis of #MTVTrashTalk, a campaign for the eco-conscious, digitally savvy generation.”

MTV kickstarted the campaign on 25th September with a collection drive of all the hateful comments on social media. For every negative comment that was received, the brand, in partnership with an NGO called Waste Warriors, cleaned 1Kg of actual plastic waste from the streets of Mumbai. As part of this initiative, MTV managed to clean various locations including Mahim Causeway, Bandra East station, Oshiwara, Bandra reclamation and Carter Road amongst others.

Riding on its strong social media fandom, MTV Trash Talk received strong support from MTV talents like Neha Dhupia, Rannvijay Singh, Karan Kundra, Varun Sood, Dr. Sanket Bhosale, Jonita Gandhi, Akasa, VJ Gaelyn, rappers like Kaam Bhari, Brodha V, SlowCheetah, popular influencer Miss Malini and Bollywood biggies like Farhan Akhtar and Priyanka Chopra, who also poured in their support for #MTVTrashTalk.

For this initiative, MTV partnered with renowned artist and sculptor Arzaan Khambatta, to design a model of the modern day RAVANA, named TrashAsura, a 10-ft tall structure symbolizing plastic as the evil in the face of humanity. The installation, made entirely of plastic waste, is a physical and a creative manifestation of the filth received in the form of social media trolls. TrashAsura, made from the 1000kg of waste that was collected, will later by upcycled into utilities after the installation will be dismantled on the 9th of October.

Talking about this thought, Arzaan Khambatta says, “There is no greater threat to mankind today than an environment plagued with plastic pollution. Enough damage has already occurred and its about time we action change. This giant like installation is a topical manifestation of the menace we have led to and the impending danger that awaits us. I am happy to partner with MTV for this thought-provoking initiative and sincerely hope this instills a change in mindsets.”

The TrashAsura installation is a reminder of what trash- online as well as physical can manifest into if ignored. The 10-feet installation was inaugurated by popular Bollywood actors Neha Dhupia, Dino Morea, Nikhil Chinapa, along with Navin Shenoy, Marketing Head, Youth, Music, and English Entertainment, Viacom18, on 7th October 2019, a day before the festival of Dussehra.

Smt. Poonam Mahajan, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, said, “MTV’s campaign Trash Talk evocatively addresses two important issues, cyber bullying and plastic pollution. Plastic pollution can be tackled with innovation and policy changes. The Hon’ble Prime Minister and government are taking steps to change policies. The nation needs young people to propel innovation. This is a very cool campaign by MTV and I encourage all our young eco-warriors to come be a part of it. Saving Mother Earth can be great fun as well.”

Neha Dhupia said,As India’s most loved youth brand, #MTVTrashTalk is an honest and a thought-provoking effort at adding a twist to the virtual bane of trolling and deliver positive actions out of it. And in the wake of natural threats like the recent conversations around Aarey forest deforestation closer home, and climate change, something we are all experiencing with non-seasonal showers, the TrashAsura is a wake-up call to pull us out of our slumber.”

“I can say for most of us that we have been a victim of both evils- online trash and the trash we encounter every day when we step out of our homes. TrashAsura by MTV is a great step towards dealing with both the evils, and a small step towards raising awareness about plastic pollution”, added Nikhil Chinapa.

Dino Morea who joined the MTV Team said, “MTV Trash Talk is definitely an innovative campaign. The idea of turning social media trolls into something as unique and artistic out of plastic waste and installing a modern-day Ravana is commendable. I am happy to join hands with the brand for such a great cause and hoping to spread a positive word through this initiative.”

The TrashAsura installation will be dismantled on 9th October 2019 and sent to Aarohana, the partner NGO that will upcycle the plastic waste into reusable products. Upcycling will involve cleaning the plastic, weaving it into a cloth & making usable products out of it such as duffle bags, cutlery kits, pen stands, etc. So, this how MTV, India’s no. 1 youth brand planned to thrash the trash peacefully and get social media trolls to indirectly curb plastic pollution. Now that’s what’s called a slow burn!

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