MTV Rodney Heals

MTV launched a weird and wonderful advertising campaign in 2007, the story of Rodney Gray, an air guitarist now air massage cult leader. The Rodney Heals campaign was developed to brand MTV Spirit around the world.

Rodney with Elise in MTV Rodney Heals ad


Rodney Gray, played by Tim Raby, has grown around him a group of followers who passionately believe in the power of whale music, air massage and motivational talks. Dressed in spandex pants and kaftans, Rodney spreads his message of new age mysticism.

Rodney’s Rock Background

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Elise

British new age follower Elise Matthews (see her MySpace page) finds that if she takes her clothes off the energy becomes more intense. She has never met a man as giving as Rodney. Note the occasional appearance of a boom microphone at the top of the screen.

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Fertility Treatment

Leslie and Nicola Anderson (see her MySpace site) come to Rodney for help with conceiving a baby. With the help of some air massage, Leslie’s problems are overcome and they go on to produce quadruplets.

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Power of Words

Never underestimate the power of words. Who knows why Princess Diana died? Diana Simpson Marshall (see her MySpace site) is certainly interested.

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Rodney Knows Things

69 year old Zoe Pembridge (see her MySpace site) tells us that Rodney has wisdom like the whales. The first time Rodney put his hands on her it was like her head was in a microwave…

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Whale Song

Rodney wanders the streets and sings to the whales.

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When Whales Sing

What can they teach us? To love, to listen, to feel!

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Credits

The Rodney Heals campaign was developed at Exile Films, New Zealand by media creative strategist / PR coordinator Ilya Rozhdestvensky, writer/director Gaysorn Thavat (now at Robber’s Dog), interactive creative directors Kentaro Yamada and Christian Schneider, and executive producer Ian Gibbons.

Thavat built an entire Rodney cult, complete with poignant scriptural quotes and spiritual rites. “MTV is a cult, it’s a network as the spirit of youth. In a way creating a character like Rodney created a self-perpetuating campaign, which religion is,” she says.

Thavat’s direction helped actor Tim Raby develop a ‘deep and sensitive’ character, with bad hair and an excruciating wardrobe of spandex pants and kaftans. Although filmed in West Auckland, New Zealand, the characters, judging by their MySpace profiles, are meant to be British.

See more on the campaign at Idealog.