Madonna’s “Make My Video” MTV Contest


I recently read VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave (a great read, which I plan to review soon), and it got me on a nostalgic kick to seek out all good things MTV related from the 1980s.

In the early years at MTV they were big into viewer contests. Here at the Retroist we recently took a look back at the “Paint the Mutha Pink” John Cougar Mellencamp contest. Well, in 1986 MTV ran yet another fun viewer contest. This time it was to make your own video for Madonna’s single “True Blue” from the eponymously titled album. Having married Sean Penn in 1985, Madonna wrote the song as a love letter to Penn.

MTV choose ten finalists and played nothing but “True Blue” video entries repeatedly on the channel for an entire day. When you think about it, if you were a Madonna fan, that was probably the best day ever. If you were NOT a Madonna fan, then you probably got a decent amount of fresh air that day.

Here’s the original commercial for the contest (this time, one of the big prizes includes “enough Twix candy bars to pay off the entire cast”!)

contest-winnersAnd here’s brief footage of the winners, Angel Garcia and Cliff Guest, being interviewed in the MTV studios by Madonna. They say it cost them under $1,000 to make their winning video.

The video they made was rather decent in both storyline and execution. It follows the story of teenagers in love, shot in grainy sepia tone, a style that gelled nicely with the 1950s doo-wop vibe of the song.

Madonna had already shot her own professional video for the single, which featured her good friend and occasional guest star in other Madonna videos, actress Debi Mazar.

If you’re interested, here is the full-length fan-made video:

And a short overview of MTV’s 1986 Year in Review with Madonna. It’s funny to hear Vince Neil’s opinion about that day-long True Blue event.


It's all just pops and clicks within the vinyl groove I'm listening to. Music, movies, commercials, action figures, cassette tapes...anything that you left in your parents' attic when you moved. I want to talk about it.
-DJ Darko, Your Pop Culture Mixologist

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