MTV Nets: We've got connections

Celebrates relationships at its upfront presentation

After a year of upfront presentation silence, MTV Networks rocked the house with a celebration of its connection to its audiences and advertisers.

MTVN brought out celebrities from Justin Timberlake and Samuel L. Jackson to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to drive home the message that it is building partnerships with Madison Avenue. Other stars included Ashanti, Chris Rock and Sarah Silverman. John Legend performed "This Time," from his upcoming album; Silverman, guitar in hand, sang an ode to Group M chief Rino Scanzoni.

"I'm looking to have a partnership, if you will, with him," she said.

MTVN president Judy McGrath told ad buyers gathered at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square that the company has a bond with its young audiences, who have a lot of disposable income.

"They're more invested in and engaged in our content than ever before," McGrath said.

That connection goes beyond content to advertising, McGrath said. Appearing before the audience to attest to that were execs from Dove, who talked about the Alicia Keys microseries sponsored by the brand that aired between commercial pods of MTV's "The Hills"; Mountain Dew's microminiseries that aired on Spike; and LG's sponsorship of VH1's "Save the Music" campaign online, on-air and in community events nationwide.

It also announced analysis and ad-buying tools called "effectiveness targeting," which it said will provide a new paradigm in ROI and accountability. "Nothing like this exists in the marketplace today," ad sales chief Hank Close said.

Colbert and Stewart riffed on the commercial partnerships, with Colbert coming out with a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and integrating it into their bit.

Stewart opened the show's remarks, saying that he didn't think upfront presentations like this were done anymore. "I thought that was the point of the writers strike ... so we didn't have to do this shit anymore," he quipped.

Stewart and Colbert poked fun at the advertisers, thanking them for their mini-operas (30-second spots) "extolling products both needless and unwanted." Stewart noted that their two talk shows on Comedy Central score well in adults 18-34.

"They trust us, and I think you can exploit that," he said.

It ended with a custom number by the cast of "Legally Blonde."