Radiohead have donated a song to MTV to use in a human rights media campaign ‘EXIT’ (end exploitation and trafficking)
The video, which will premiere on MTV channels globally from May 1, features a split screen showing the day in the life of a well-off child from a western country and a poor child who is forced to work in a shoe factory sweatshop. In Rainbows track ‘All I Need’ will promote the MTV Exit initiative that aims to end exploitation and human trafficking.
Ed O’Brien said the band had become interested in the issue in part because of author Naomi Klein’s book No Logo which highlighted the production-to-retail practices of companies. He said that the band had not received any money for the project: “For things like this that would just not be right,” he added. “A lot of this [project] is about credo and personal philosophies and what you believe in.”
The partnership between MTV and Radiohead will extend to the group’s upcoming tour of North America, Europe and Asia.
While the music video will not run at the concerts, youth activists belonging to local anti-human trafficking organisations will hand out leaflets at each gig.
“We are always looking for more creative, innovative ways to talk to our audience about key issues and we aim through this highly visual campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking,” said Bill Roedy, vice-chairman of MTV Networks.
O’Brien added that Radiohead came on board because of the innovative nature of getting the message across: “We were happy for our music to be used for this film. If we had been asked to appear in a straight TV ad we would have said no,” he said. “I’m not sure TV would have been effective – in many ways it might have put [viewers] off.”
Thom Yorke said successful bands have new ways to communicate directly with fans: “We are about that direct relationship (now) because we are big enough to establish that.” Yorke said the band linked with MTV to highlight such issues as child slavery, enforced servitude and sex trafficking because it was “about exploiting a situation while you have the chance.”
“All power to MTV for taking this on because its obviously going to be difficult for them in terms of the advertisers,” he said. “With the (‘All I Need’) video, their lawyers had to beg to make sure there wasn’t a single white trainer with a logo on it because the implication would be a little too close. But the implication is still there.”
The video was filmed in Australia by cinematographer John Seale, who has worked on the English Patient and Cold Mountain, and director Steve Rogers.