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\FALL 2009

t h e i n t e r n a t i o n a l j o u r n a l o f m e d i a ma r k e t i n g , p r o m o t i o n a n d d e s i g n




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UPFRONT 8-9 Watch Dog 10 -14 Creative Brief 16 Brand/reBrand


FEATURES 17 Market Watch 18 Spot Watch 19 Media Brief 20 Brief Encounters 22 Design/Dissect SPECIAL REPORTS 24 Creative Anarchy


New technologies have unleashed the beast in the volume of tools available to creatives. Now, the leaders in the field confess how to use these tools to unlock the inner guru.

36 Elmo’s World At 40, “Sesame Street” continues its role as an educational icon for generations of children around the world. But as the series gets older, marketing executives are getting wiser in how to spread the show’s mantra.


42 Culture Shock The powerful impact of Hispanic consumers continues to open doors for marketers around the dial. Now, executives are embracing the audiences, and not just on the Spanish-speaking networks.

ON THE COVER The cover illustration was designed by Rhomb.

46 Stunted Growth Slashed budgets are prompting clever ways to create word-of-mouth buzz as bodies, bears and blood are all put on the table for promotional purposes.

LAST LOOK 50 Picture Tube 52 Shuffle 54 Op Ed

49 36


PromaxBDA is a global, non-profit association dedicated to being the leading resource for education, community, creative inspiration and career development for marketing, promotion and design professionals within the entertainment and information industry.


Letter from the President I went to a wonderfully engaging panel discussion this week which included YouTube’s Chad Hurley, Hulu’s Jason Kilar, News Corp.’s Jonathan Miller and Wired Magazine’s Chris Anderson with Disney overlord Bob Iger moderating. And while the conversation was meant to focus on the future of content and the business of entertainment, the discussion quickly escalated to one of marketing, promotion and the design of content engagement. Hearing these visionary entrepreneurs discuss product sampling, engagement and audience monetization was truly comforting. Unbeknownst to them, Bob, Chad, Jason, John and Chris became our quintessential evangelists, pontificating the very mandate PromaxBDA has been espousing for the last 18 months: that entertainment has become a marketing business. Of course, we already knew that. Those of us in the business — from the media planners and buyers to the creatives and designers — should be exceptionally proud of the work they’ve done, especially over the last 12 months. As the economy creeps back from the edge of its death spiral, the public is watching more content than ever before. By delivering the audiences and helping them find the content they’ll like — on myriad platforms — we’re doing everything we can to ensure the success of our businesses. Marketing has arrived as the driving force behind success in the entertainment business. And entertainment has become one of the most significant sectors driving the general marketing industry. The fall launch season is in full swing, and a simple drive down Santa Monica Blvd. becomes an full-scale assault of entertainment marketing messages, reminding me to tune in the premier of Glee, House, FlashForward, Vampire Diaries, Project Runway, Cougar Town and a trillion other reality programs on any number of networks. From bus shelters and installations to building sides and digital billboards, the buzzing, blips and barrage makes crossing Sunset and Doheny about as safe as texting chapter one of “War and Peace” going 70 mph on the 405. Blindfolded. Using advertising-supported media to drive audiences to other advertising supported media is a phenomenally intricate, dynamic and complex business which is becoming even more complicated to master. On the home front, we quietly opened the doors on a new online resource to help you become even better at what you do. The new www., a truly sophisticated professional networking utility giving PromaxBDA members unprecedented access to 4,500+ video spots from around the world complete with credits and production information. The utility also allows members to upload and share their portfolio (video and stills) with more than 9,000 industry professionals from the entertainment marketing, promotion and design community. There’s a vast job board and social networking component that enables the connection of our international industry in ways never before possible. But most of all, it’s designed to help you be better, more effective and efficient at everything you do. And better marketers, means an even better industry! I invite you all to check it out at There will be changes and enhancements, but we’re proud of it, and we hope you are too! Enjoy. Cheers, Jonathan Block-Verk President/CEO, PromaxBDA Executive Publisher, brief


Fall 2009 Volume 1, Issue 4

Letter from the Editor



All letters sent to brief or its editors are assumed intended for publication. brief invites editorial comment, but accepts no responsibility for its loss or destruction, however it arises, while in its office or in transit. All material to be returned must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher. US Postmaster: Send address changes to brief, 1522e Cloverfield Blvd., Santa Monica, CA, 90404. Printed in the United States. brief is a quarterly publication, plus special issues as a part of member outreach for non-profit organization PromaxBDA, which publishes this magazine. For a membership to PromaxBDA, please contact our main office in Santa Monica, Calif. email:

brief 1522e Cloverfield Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90404-5567 (310) 788-7600

Jennifer Ciminillo

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Hillary Atkin, Kate Bacon, Elaine Cantwell, Wayne Friedman, Mark Schilling, Daisy Whitney

Video magazine promos, a Facebook preview, a national tour and, of course, new forms of integration…welcome to the fall season as network marketers penetrate every conceivable avenue to reach potential audiences. As we wrap up our first year of publishing brief, our editorial team had a literal bevy of fascinating campaigns to pick from thanks to the summer hype. Of course, as they say, the fun is in the journey. But as editor, in all my years covering the entertainment business, it’s the hype and detailing the clever new ways to reach consumers that is the most fun to cover. That brings me to this issue of the magazine. The digital age has naturally changed how people connect and work, but it’s the effects on the creative process that could change this business the most. We’ve assembled several thought-provoking articles and conversations that shed some light on the creative evolution and how companies are best taking advantage of the new society. While marketers play with the latest and greatest technological advances, be it a social site, an integrated Web series or ultra-thin video players, some of the best work in recent months has in fact been about personal contact. Check out our special report on guerrilla marketing and stunt promotion to see some of the innovative ways branders are getting word-of-mouth without the use of a microchip. Elsewhere in the magazine, we dissect a brand that has probably impacted most of our readers in one form or another in “Sesame Street,” which is celebrating 40 years on the airwaves. The impact of television icons such as Big Bird and Elmo has surged far beyond its original intent for PBS, instead playing a role as a brand that impacts families around the world. Our reports survey the importance the show has held on its ruby anniversary, how that branding has changed how producers are reaching children, as well as what’s in store for the future of Oscar and the gang. Of course, you shouldn’t miss our review of the quarter’s top spots and campaigns, an exclusive interview with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and a look at the state of Hispanic marketing. On the home front, you’ve seen PromaxBDA keep you updated with our quarterly magazine as well as daily newsletter, and, as we move ahead, we are getting ready to turn up our information delivery even more as our focus now turns to our website. Get ready for breaking news, video tours and Q&As that will give our members even more opportunities to learn, connect and share. Chris Pursell Editor-in-Chief and VP of Content Innovation P.S. Looking forward to the next issue which will be our special look at animation with some terrific interviews, a tribute to The Simpsons 20th Anniversary, and a look at the state of kid’s marketing. We’ll also be delivering a special report on the role PR is playing in the business of marketing. Should be a great publication.




Brian Williams Anchor and Managing Editor NBC Nightly News

The 19th Annual Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame – recognized as the leading industry event honoring the pioneers, the innovators and the stars of the electronic arts – will be celebrated on Tuesday, October 20th at a formal dinner at New York’s WALDORF ASTORIA. Tickets and sponsorships are now on sale, see below for information.

Class of 2009

Richard Beaven

Linda Bell Blue

Patrick Esser

Jorge Ramos

CEO Initiative Worldwide

Executive Producer Entertainment Tonight and the Insider

President Cox Communications, Inc.

Anchorman Noticiero Univision

Abbe Raven

Johnathan Rodgers

Bob Ross

Jack Sander

President and Chief Executive Officer A&E Television Networks

President and CEO TV One

Senior Vice President East Coast Operations CBS Television Network

Senior Advisor Belo Corp.

David Verklin

Tony Vinciquerra

Jeff Zucker

Chairman and CEO Fox Networks Group

President and Chief Executive NBC Universal

Monday Night Football

CEO Canoe Ventures

For ticket and sponsorship information call Sandy Friedman at 646-746-6740 or email at

A portion of the net proceeds is donated to


For more information log on to:

Watch Dog

Upfront OBig

The campaigns behind television’s success stories

Brother 11

Network: CBS Date: August 18 Rating: 2.9 Key to success: “It comes down to the characters,” said CBS Marketing Group EVP and Creative Director Ron Scalera. “I think in this case, it was just a really great set of characters.” Scalera cited likeable characters, budding show romances and the mental breakdown of contestant Chima Simone, whose exit episode earned “Big Brother” its highest ratings with adults 18-49 since the season eight finale, as reasons for the show’s viewership seeing such a steady increase. Faced with the challenge of marketing a reality show that’s in its eleventh season and on three nights a week, Scalera said they needed to show viewers that it was the same show they’d always loved, but with new twists and challenges to make it interesting. One of the changes for season 11 was breaking contestants up into high-school-labeled cliques consisting of the Athletes, Brains, Popular and Offbeat. “Ultimately, viewers do want something new, but, at the same time, they want what they like,” said Scalera. “Especially in reality, the real challenge in terms of both producing the show and marketing it is to give people the sense that there’s enough happening that’s new. You can’t jump the shark. You can’t just completely trash what has made the show successful. It’s a very fine line.” Another challenge the CBS marketing team faced was being able to turn out promos that kept up with the show’s ever-changing narrative, which they accomplished by often pulling bits of scenes from past episodes and teasing future episodes together as one storyline. “Big Brother is a living breathing, anything can happen environment, so sometimes the turnaround times are an hour. It does keep you on your toes because the narrative is sort of writing itself while you sleep,” Scalera said. “You put them in the house, lock the door, cameras are rolling, and you really don’t know what’s going to happen minute to minute. Obviously, that’s the appeal of the show, but for anyone promoting the show, it does become a massive challenge. How do you try to stay ahead of the curve when things are literally happening minute-by-minute? In this case, I think it’s working out really well.” O

National Broadcast Ratings Week 40

Week 41

Week 42

Week 43

June 22 - June 28

June 29 - July 5

July 6 - July 12

July 13 - July 19

5.0 4.5 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0

Dance Your Ass Off Network: Oxygen Date: June 29 Rating: 1.3 Key to success: “Relatability,” said Oxygen General Manager, Jason Klarman. “The show strikes a chord with people. They want to lose weight, and they want to do it in a fun way.” To get audiences pumped up for the June 29 season premiere of the weight loss through dance competition, Oxygen began promoting the show weeks before with a campaign that combined traditional media buys in national magazines, cable and syndication with a grassroots effort that included a “Dance Your Ass Off” five-city tour and a partnership with 33 Crunch gyms across that U.S. that allowed potential viewers to take classes to get the experience of the show firsthand.


0.5 Average Ratings, Live + SD, Household

“Weeks before the show ever launched, you were meeting the different characters, you were meeting the host, you were connecting to the ‘Dance Your Ass Off’ experience via the tour, and you were able to share that experience with your friends via widgets and all of the social media that goes along with it,” said Klarman. The campaign also utilized Oxygen’s digital resources by populating the “Dance Your Ass Off” Web page with weight loss tools and tips, user-submitted dance videos and blogs from show host, actress Marissa Jaret Winokur, who also Tweeted about the show for fans. The results were the largest audience ever for a series premiere on the network with viewership up 249 percent from Oxygen’s previous month of Mondays.

Campaign Spotlight: True Blood

Zach Enterlin VP of Advertising and Promotions, HBO


All-Star Game

Network: Fox Date: July 14 Rating: 3.7 Key to success: Collaboration. Anchoring July with baseball’s summer classic, Fox utilized the resources of both parent company News Corp. as well as Major League Baseball. “The great thing about Fox Sports is that News Corp. owns so many stations and channels, and we believe that the All-Star Game is one of the biggest events of the summer where we can move the needle,” said Eric Margraf, EVP of marketing for Fox Sports. “We also collaborated a lot with MLB, where we came up with the commercial, and the league used that commercial for their institutional placements such as a stadium. We even made different versions of the spots in order to feature different players for the local teams.” To drive viewership, Fox Sports ran spots on all of the company’s channels, including: FX, Fox News, Speed, Fuel, Fox Movie Channel and Fox Reality. FX even ran a baseball movie day the Sunday before the game while an All-Star watermark ran on all of the platforms. The result saw Fox’s telecast of the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game delivering an average audience of 14.6 million viewers making it the most-watched midsummer classic since 2002. “We are very excited that the All-Star Game continues to be highest-rated all-star game of any of the leagues,” said Margraf. “We’ve seen great growth that shows how healthy the game of baseball really is. Families around the country really look forward to this event, and we make sure it remains a summer event that is not to be missed.” O

O ABC O CBS O CW O Fox O MyNet O NBC O Univison Week 45

Week 46

Week 47

Week 48

Week 49

July 27 - Aug 2

Aug 3 - Aug 9

Aug 10 - Aug 16

Aug 17 - Aug 23

Aug 24 - Aug 30

Data: Nielsen Media Research

Week 44 July 20 - July 26

The show’s not-so-subtle name, one of challenges to promoting it, was what may have helped it become a break-out hit according to Klarman. “The word is provocative. The word is not censored, but there is a sensitivity to it,” he said. “But, everybody knows the spirit with which we’re using the word. It’s a fun take on weight loss.” In addition to all of the Web content available for viewers, at the end of the season, to bring the interactive experience full circle for their fans, Oxygen plans to release a “Dance Your Ass Off” DVD. “Television is no longer just a passive experience,” said Klarman. “It’s creating communities around ideas like ‘Dance Your Ass Off.’ It’s centered around the TV experience, the analog experience if you will, but that experience is fed through all of these different channels.” O

Network: HBO Date: August 23 Rating: 2.8 With loyal audiences and critical acclaim, HBO’s “True Blood” entered its second season with high expectations for the show as well as its marketing to the undead of the world. “From a strategic perspective, it’s difficult to resonate in this marketplace,” said Zach Enterlin, VP of advertising and promotions at HBO. “So, we have to find truly effective and different ways to reach consumers and venues that go beyond the traditional 30-second spot.” The campaign was divided into multiple phases that included the use of sponsors, viral videos, a faux magazine show and stunt advertorials. The results saw around 3.7 million viewers tune into the season premiere of season two of “True Blood” — the network’s biggest telecast rating in two years. Phase one of the campaign included tease ads with taglines such as “Ready for Seconds?” and “Ready for New Blood?” that ran from midApril through mid-May. The second phase featured faux advertisements done through Digital Kitchen with companies such as GEICO, Gillette, Harley Davidson, MINI, and all advertising to the “vampires” of the world. Beefing up the content for the fang crowd, HBO and Gawker formed a partnership to include vampire blog in the roster of reading material, and created a weekly news magazine show “The Perspective with Victoria Davis,” which featured a “Vampire Report” segment, while street teams distributed a vampire version of the magazine AMNY. Completing the back half of the campaign, HBO worked with Campfire and Digital Kitchen to create viral videos of vampires trying to blend into society, as well as an intheater faux advertisement that ran in movie theaters for vampire dental care, that echoes of the local ads that often run before the films. The beauty of the campaign, according to Enterlin, was that the elements were designed to appeal to both the hardcore as well as casual and potential fan. “While these tactics were targeted to fans of the genre, what we have done really extends it beyond the absolute core fan,” said Enterlin. “Everything we did resonated with both kinds of audiences because we stayed true to the show and the world that Alan Ball created.” O


Creative Brief

Quick hits, trend analysis and easy-to-consume insight


Enter the Ice Age STRONG PRODUCT, NEW PLATFORMS LIFT NHL With ratings up, sponsors active, high-profile stars and online traffic soaring, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman has steadily guided the sport back into the national spotlight since the cancellation of the 2004-05 season due to labor strife. Now, the league boasts media assets that include the NHL Network,, NHL Radio and NHL Mobility in addition to popular tentpole events such as the NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. By driving established as well as new viewers to those outlets, the league has reestablished itself as a growth sport and is now looking to expand its international presence. Bettman recently spoke with brief Editor-in-Chief Chris Pursell about the positive momentum of the league, how the NHL has branded itself for a new generation of fans and the ways digital mediums have played in their growth.


Columnists continue to point toward a NHL brand renaissance as ratings continue to climb. Gary: It’s been a very good time for the league, coming back as we have from the year off with four years of record attendance and record revenues, but besides that, perhaps more than anything else, is the fact that the game on the ice has never been more competitive, never been more entertaining and never had more terrific young players. I think our fans are reacting to our game better than ever before, connecting to our game in ways they’ve never been able to do before.

is really enhancing. Keep in mind, our demographics are basically well educated, affluent, tech-savvy people.

as scheduling. We have a very collaborative relationship with NBC and Versus in the United States, as we do with CBC, TSN and RDS in Canada. For us, life is kind of complex because we have five national broadcast partners.

The Winter Classic has become a huge tent pole event for you. What was the strategy that brought this about?

Outside of the U.S. and Canada, what are you doing to market internationally?

Gary: It was done in 2003 by the Edmonton Oilers, but John Collins, our COO, thought that in terms of appointment viewing, hockey fans, no matter who they root for, would be intrigued by one of our events, and we felt in conjunction with NBC, that there was a great opportunity on New Year’s Day, particularly because college football isn’t what it used to be on that

Gary: You start with the fact that the quality of the product is as strong as it’s ever been, which is based on the rule changes and the new economic model. What you really have to do is give your fans an opportunity to connect with you, particularly in the digital age, and we’re using digital media to grow the brand. We’re doing it with, we’re up something like 38 percent in visitors this year over last year. We’re providing not just access through all forms of digital media, be it the Internet or Mobilily or the NHL Network, but we’re also providing content like we’ve never done before, such as increased use of video, social networking and blogging. In other words, we are letting fans determine how they want to connect with us, and, in return, we’re giving them content they basically can’t get anywhere else in terms of access to the game. The second thing that we are doing is what we call “building scale” in conjunction with the digital technology. We are doing things like the Winter Classic and the awards show in Las Vegas. Doing things that cause fans, no matter who you root for, to focus on the game of hockey, and the league itself has been essential.

What’s been most successful from these digital tactics, and what’s the next step for the league? Gary: There are a couple of things. “Game Center” and the ability to watch games in an advanced way have worked well, but the extensive use we are making of video on all platforms is really engaging our fans, which in our case is important because, historically, our fans are often underserved by traditional media. Giving our fans the type of video content and video relationship access that they haven’t been able to get anywhere else


How are you developing a new generation of fans?

East Confeernce all-star Alexei Kovalev of the Montreal Canadiens is presented with the most valuable player award by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman during the NHL All-Star hockey game in Montreal.

day. We thought this was an opportunity to return the game to its roots, celebrate the history and origins of the game, take our players back to a time, cause so many of our players learned to skate on outdoor ponds, and we thought it would capture everybody’s imagination, and the results have been phenomenal. Last year, in Chicago, I think we had a waiting list of a quarter of a million people; it was the most for a regular season game in the United States in 13 or 14 years. It really dominated New Year’s Day, a day that people thought nothing but college football could get attention on.

How does the collaborative process work with NBC and Versus when it comes to marketing and branding? Gary: You must have an extremely close working relationship with your network broadcasters, both over-the-air and cable, not just in terms of presenting the game, but even on something that seems as basic

Gary: Obviously, you can’t escape noticing the size of the market and opportunity, and that’s something we are going to focus more on. In the shorter term, the interest in our game in Europe and the former Soviet Union is undeniable. Twentyeight percent of our players come from outside North America from those countries. They have a great deal of interest in the game, which is why two years ago, we played two regular season games in London. Last year, we played four regular season games in Prague and Stockholm, and, starting this coming season, we are going to be in Helsinki and Stockholm. We are looking to build up a more regular presence, not by building franchises there, but by playing regular season games that count, and, in the future, you will see us doing more and more of that as we respond to the great interest there is in our game and the players from those countries playing our game.

Do you find that you have to use different tactics to create audience interest? Gary: From a marketing standpoint, you have to respond to the marketplace. Some of the things we do in the United States are different from some of the things we do in Canada and vice-versa. I think it’s a question of how well entrenched hockey is in a particular market, you have to tailor the branding and marketing to the places where you are going to be.

Looking ahead, what do you see as being the biggest challenges facing the sports industry? Gary: It’s the same challenge that’s challenging every business in every industry, and that is growing revenues and watching costs in a very difficult economic climate. We’re quite fortunate that last season, we had real revenue growth, but it was a little softer than we had projected, so, obviously, like everyone else, we were impacted by the economy. Nevertheless, we set an all-time attendance record and a record for revenues and real dollars. But, we need to be very careful that we are running our business efficiently and, most importantly, that we’re being sensitive to our fans and that we are providing them value. O FALL 2009 | 11


Creative Brief

Quick hits, trend analysis and easy-to-consume insight

Syndie Rookies Hit Libraries for Affililate Promos As stations enter the fall season, off-network strips continue to hold a valuable lifeline to holding audiences, especially for the early and late fringe timeslots. With both “The Office” and “My Name is Earl” debuting this fall, stations are turning toward one technology, the TVPro CMS, as a quick way to create topical promos for the show. The technology from DG Entertainment allows stations to keyword search through an entire library of video with the strokes of a few keys and boom, a promo is ready to edit. For example, a station looking to make a promo for a Friday episode can type in “Friday” and every reference to the word in the entire catalog will appear, and the footage can quickly be strung together for promotion in the local market. Similarly, the system will immediately pull footage mentioning “five” for a fivedays-a week clip or “New York” for New York stations. “We always knew it was daunting for stations to have to sit through hours and hours of clip reels to create in-show promos,” said Robbie Davis, president and CEO of DG Entertainment. “We subsequently developed a database and video recognition system that was able to take that work out of the equation, and now all of the studios have used it.” Not only are “The Office,” from NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution and “Earl,” from Twentieth Television, utilizing the TVPro CMS for their stations this year, but the system has also been used for series ranging from “Seinfeld” to “Family Guy” to “Friends.” “Let’s face it, the easier it is to make the promos, the more promos will run on-air, and the more promos that run, the better the ratings,” said Davis. “That’s the key to maximizing the value of these properties and now it’s easier than ever to do.” O —CHRIS PURSELL


The Rise and Fall NEW SEASON FINDS MARKETERS REEXAMINING BY WAYNE FRIEDMAN This summer’s fall TV marketing season has produced one major movingtarget question for executives — how to harness the increasingly powerful digital word-of-mouth buzz. “Word-of-mouth marketing is the most difficult to manage,” said Michael Benson, EVP of marketing for the ABC Entertainment. “There’s texting, blogging, Facebook and Twitter. Word-of-mouth technology is different than even just a year ago.” After on-air promos, word-of-mouth marketing has become perhaps the second most important marketing tool in launching a new show. “As marketers, we always felt we could overcome word-of-mouth,” said Vince Manze, founder/owner of InVinceable Media, a television marketing and production companY. “But that is becoming much more difficult.” A new spin for marketers is learning to harness the power of the digital media at their fingertips, as hard-core fans currently seek out not just ful-length TV episodes, but short digital content, which is often marketing material. Even still, said George Schweitzer, president of the CBS Marketing Group, all this needs to have a starting point, and that is TV promos, which first air on traditional TV. Schweitzer noted that according to surveys, 95 percent of the time, viewers first learn about a show through an on-air TV promo. Over the last few years, Comic-Con, an international summertime fancentric entertainment convention, has become the starting point for many entertainment launches as digital word-of-mouth marketing has shown to pick up speed during the yearly event. Blogging and texting efforts among core entertainment fans is a big deal – so much so TV marketing executives say NBC’s “Heroes” and ABC’s “Lost” summer marketing efforts at Comic-Con of a few years back contributed heavily to viewers’ initial sampling of the shows. In 2006, NBC gained big buzz for “Heroes” by airing the pilot during the convention. This year, NBC streamed the pilot episode of their upcoming series “Community,” a comedy about the characters at a community college,

NBC Fanning Facebook for ‘Community’ Service

of New Empires PLAYBOOKS TO CREATE STRONG HYPE on the social networking site Facebook. But rather than just airing the episode everywhere for easy access, Adam Stotsky, president of entertainment marketing for NBC, said viewers needed to send clips of the show to their friends in order to see the full pilot. “It’s kind of age-old tactic,” said Stotsky. “If you can get the right people talking, they will be stimulated. They would have to ‘work for food.’ This wasn’t about blanket marketing. It was having viewers become part of the marketing machine.” Other network executives said they believe there is danger here. While the Internet and other new digital media platforms are important, there is still an initial place they want viewers to land: On their traditional networks platforms. “We believe in premieres,” said Schweitzer. “TV is special, and we want to make it as special. We want shows to be seen in a ‘lean back’ experience.” Benson agreed that the first priority is getting a premiere seen on television. “We have held pretty firm about not doing (online premieres) over the last few years,” he said. Earlier this year, Fox tried a different page from the TV marketing playbook. It ran just the single pilot episode of its highly-regarded musically-themed drama “Glee” back in June after “American Idol” to build awareness and buzz. But critics wonder whether that singular effort can be sustained with word-of-mouth buzz and other marketing tools into the fall when it begins its regular series run. Digital word-of-mouth marketing problems come not from the plethora of choices, said Stotsky, but in starting early. Stotsky said that back in May, all NBC promo content, clips and other material that was prepared for advertisers during the upfront presentations was quickly converted into digital bite-size material to tease viewers through the summer. “We recognized the experience we had from ‘Heroes,’” said Stotsky. “Every program message becomes part of the legend and lore of the show. TV promo material is not unlike those small bottles of shampoo. If you give viewers a sample, and they like it, they’ll come back for more.” O

NBC’s strategic targeting of their upcoming series “Community” led executives straight to — where else? — Facebook and provided the latest step in the evolution of the preview. “We went in with a very specific goal: we had a great product and wanted to find a way to get people talking about it,” said Jared Goldsmith, director of digital brand promotion strategies at NBC. “The way people are deciding what to watch now is through word of mouth, and we wanted to encourage that discussion, manufacture some of that buzz and find early ambassadors for the show instead of putting the pilot out wide for mass consumption.” As part of the promotional effort, the network allowed potential viewers who become Facebook fans of “Community” to be given access to a clip of the show. However, if those fans agreed to forward the clip to five of their Facebook friends, NBC let the user watch the entire pilot on the site. “We wanted to take advantage of the buzz with advertisers by making sure entertainment enthusiasts would talk about it,” said Tim Farish, SVP of Brand Management and Media. The results saw the upcoming series garner 21,000 fans to the Facebook page. With the average Facebook user having 120 friends online, the executives project that around 2.5 million potential viewers could have been exposed to “Community” on their walls. The campaign continued to engage fans and executives subsequently added to the site with applications such as a pop culture quiz. “Facebook is an open platform, and by taking advantage of the Facebook network and fan pages, we were able to push that information out to a network of friends,” said Goldsmith.” O —CHRIS PURSELL


Creative Brief

Quick hits, trend analysis and easy-to-consume insight


Clockwise from top: “I Love the World,” “The Great Schlep,” “Anti-Knife Crime” and “True Blood”

CATCHING THEIR KUDOS As the 2009 awards season passes for the marketing and design community, worldwide competitions gave props to staples of the television community. In 2009, there were some standout campaigns across all competitions from past PromaxBDA winners. Droga5 New York’s voting awareness spot “The Great Schlep” for the Jewish Council of Education & Research, which featured comedian Sarah Silverman advocating children and grandchildren to use their pull on their Florida-based elders was recognized with a Titanium and Direct Gold Lion at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Awards featival, for writing and integrated media for The D&AD Awards and with a gold at the One Show’s excellence in advertising awards. The catchy, sing-along “I Love The World” promo for Discovery Networks by 72andSunny, Los Angeles took home both a silver from the One Show and a bronze from the 2009 Clio creative advertising awards. Superfad’s delightfully dirty “Get It On!” for Durex was popular as well. The spot, which features balloon animals caught in flagrante delicto, picked up a D&AD and a silver Clio for animation. MTV did well in France also, earning a silver and gold Cannes Lions for their “Anti-Knife Crime” chose your ending work and “Chose or Lose Voting Awareness,” respectively. Also winning Clios were Canal+ as the recipient of a gold for their “Canal+ Cinema” campaign with BETC Euro RSCG, Paris, while Discovery EMEA, London won a bronze for their “Carbon Footprint” spot. The Telly Awards competition for local and regional commercials and programs also saw a great deal of PromaxBDA winners awarded with creative agency bpg and design studio Syndrome each taking home two awards, and The Ant Farm, CBS Productions, The NBC Agency, Transistor Studios, Anatomy Media, Jump Studios Ltd. and Bombastic winning for their production work as well. Picking up Emmy nominations for Outstanding Main Title Design were Digital Kitchen for HBO’s “True Blood,” DUCK for Showtime’s “United States of Tara,” Radical Media for AMC’s “Storymakers,” Shine for HBO’s “Taking Chance” and Robert Bradley and Thomas Cobb for Fox’s “Lie to Me.” O —SHANNA GREEN


Rarely do networks get a chance to entrench engaged audiences, promote their brand and integrate advertisers all while making money, but that’s exactly what networks are finding as they turn to one of the original forms of digital social networking i.e. fantasy leagues. With the launch of football season, and the NBA and NHL games right around the corner, fantasy leagues are quickly becoming a must-play for entertainment branders. After all, recent reports state that nearly 30 million players in the U.S. alone spend up to nine hours a week engaging in strategies for weekly matchups. That opportunity, especially with the elusive young male demo, has not gone unnoticed by content providers. “For ESPN, we recognize that the people who play fantasy football are no longer considered ‘stat geeks,’ and the persona of the people who play has changed dramatically,” said Adam Deutsch, senior director of marketing for ESPN Digital Media. “We set out to try to build the connectivity the fans through fantasy sports have into a passion for our brand.” Fantasy leagues, including ESPN’s, have now integrated major sponsors into their game ESPN leveraged fantasy fans into a branding event. set-up while also driving traffic to their own content. ESPN incorporated Geico and GMC as major sponsors for its leagues, while companies such as Best Buy and Ford are active in other sites. “Fantasy is really a unique way to connect with a particular type of consumer, and advertisers are recognizing that,” said Deutsch. “We were able to incorporate Cheez-Its as a sponsor for our NFL fantasy draft party, which was a grassroots marketing tact we held at 1,000 homes around the country. It was an experiment for both of us, but the events went over incredibly well. The evolution of this phenomenon has created an incredible opportunity for marketing.” O —CHRIS PURSELL

DESIGNERS PREP FOR 3D FORAY Until now, the extent of 3D TV has been sweeps stunts such as this year’s 3D episode of NBC’s Chuck, “Chuck vs. “Chuck vs. the Third Dimension” the Third Dimension,” which required users to wear the traditional blue and red glasses, but with British Satellite broadcaster BSkyB announcing in July that it will be launching Europe’s first 3D TV channel by 2010, Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic all showing off their newest 3D-capable television sets at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show and industry experts proclaiming that 3D TV will be available in most markets within the next five years, the race to put television entertainment in 3D, it seems is on. But don’t expect to see show promos in 3D anytime soon. Due to the high cost to produce, lack of consumers who have capable television sets and the debate over one standard industry format to produce in, promos will likely have to wait until there’s a standard industry-wide conversion that pushes everything into 3D. Still, the switch is most likely inevitable. One designer compared the switch to the HD formats that are becoming the industry norm with some companies that have experience working with 3D for cinema beginning to invest in the software and hardware required for future 3D production in hope of staying ahead of the technological curve. O —SHANNA GREEN



strategies and tactics behind the promotion

MTV International Web:; Creative: MTV World Design Studio Milano and design studio Universal Everything with additional production by Tronic, Realise, Maxim Zhestkov and Zeitguised Campaign led by: Roberto Bagatti, VP creative, MTV Networks International and creative director, World Design Studio Milan in collaboration with Dylan Griffith, creative director of MTV North Target audience: Teens and adults 12-34 Objective: To give all 64, excluding-U.S., international MTV channels a single, unified brand language for the new generation of MTV viewers. The project mantra was “popular 1,000 percent,” which Bagatti explained wasn’t just about MTV’s basis in music. “We really wanted to define a common denominator, which would be pop,” he said. “MTV is a huge container of different forms of pop, so it’s more about pop culture than pop music.” Steps taken: To reinvent the iconic powerhouse, the team focused on key words such as “love,” “joy” and “desire,” which Bagatti said are common themes across all cultures and languages. MTV International joined forces with creative agency Universal Everything for the refresh, which included an updated logo, new idents and promos, a “punchy” color palette and an electronic program guide. For the first phase of the refresh, MTV rolled out

six new idents and promos, and six more, including print and online, will be added in September. New elements will be introduced into 2010. Lessons learned: “One of the main challenges of the project was trying to keep consistent in a network that has many different cultures,” Bagatti said. “I think the way that was solved is that we tried to look at what could be a unifying theme. What could really work in a completely different context — going from China to India to the UK to Italy to Spain to Japan.” He noted that was when they realized that since pop is viewed differently from one country to the next, the only way to have a truly unified brand would be to base it on universal emotions. O

Sprout Web:; Creative: Sprout’s in-house creative team with animation by Trace Pictures Campaign led by: Sprout’s creative director, Meredith Halpern-Ranzer Target audience: Children, ages 2-5 and their parents and caregivers Objective: To give the 24-hour network for preschoolers a modern look and make it more interactive for viewers. Steps taken: “’Everyday moments matter here,’ that’s what we stand for,” said Halpern-Ranzer. She explained that since the Sproutlettes are creating the world of Sprout from the videos, drawings and cards they can send in to the Sprout boxes they can personalize, the team worked that concept across all platforms of the channel, including the show opens, promos and bumpers. The old look of the channel, which Halpern-Ranzer described as having a story-book feel, will be replaced by one that incorporates an interactive art and crafts theme. New elements include hand-made worlds with stitched branches on felt trees and real cotton clouds. Viewer submissions will also be used as on-air elements as part of the theme.

Lessons learned: Don’t do it all at once. With about 600 new elements to be introduced, Sprout’s creative team wanted to make sure they paced updating the network out over several months so their regular viewers wouldn’t tune in to find a channel they didn’t recognize. “I think if you look at the network in six to nine months time, it will feel completely different than how it will feel (when we launch), but in a good way,” said Andrew Beecham, Sprout’s SVP of programming. “It will feel more owned by kids.” O

Travel Channel Web:, Creative: ZONA Design Campaign led by: Zoa Martinez, president and creative director for ZONA Design Target audience: adults, 25-44 Objective: With the addition of new on-air personalities, Travel Channel wanted to create a more modern, energetic look that would be more about the experience than just a travelogue. “Our concept was also to make sure that the Travel Channel was more of an entertainment brand,” said Martinez. “We really wanted to entrench that.” Steps taken: Starting with the logo, ZONA aimed to give the channel more energy and movement. Martinez introduced a bright orange-red and blue that she said had an “international flavor” and from there, created a color wheel for the channel that included primary colors to represent the different personalities of the show hosts. Martinez also built a geometry of shapes, which were all connected to each other in some way, and could be


used to create an animated energy on the channel. “It was more of pulling you in, as opposed to being textural or decorative,” said Martinez. Lessons Learned: One of the challenges of the project was creating the visual experience of giving motion and energy to the channel, an abstract concept, without hitting the viewers over the head with it. Martinez said she felt the results were a success. Since the rebrand was launched, the channel now has more female viewers and increased ratings. O


L-R: “Departures,” “Death Note” and “Bayside Shakedown 2”

Networks Build Screen Door JAPANESE BROADCASTERS LEVERAGE OLD PLATFORM FOR HOT BRANDS By MARK SCHILLING With Japan ranking as the second largest advertising market in the world, after the United States, television networks in the country continue to find new avenues for branding their content and reaching audiences in an increasingly-advanced technological world and make some money in the process. One successful strategy in recent years to increase program engagement relies on an old staple, the movies. In 1998, Fuji, under the leadership of wunderkind producer Chihiro Kameyama, made a cheeky cop thriller from the cult hit Fuji TV show “Bayside Shakedown.” It topped the year’s box office, earning more than $100 million, while the 2003 follow-up, “Bayside Shakedown II,” grossed nearly $179 million. The production cost: $10 million. In the decade since, Fuji and its network rivals, led by Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) and Nippon Television Network (NTV), have ramped up production, while scoring hit after hit in the box office and ramping up ratings in the process. Among them are TBS’s AcademyAward-winning 2008 drama “Departures,” whose domestic gross has passed the $60 million mark, and NTV’s three “Death Note” films, supernatural thrillers that have earned a collective $115 million from 2006 to 2008. There is no one formula for success, but there is a production structure that Fuji perfected and is now all but universal. Called the “production committee” (seisaku iinkai), it typically consists of a network, ad agency, publishing house and other media companies, as well as a distributor. The committee members jointly finance, produce, market and publicize a film on a project basis, though relationships often carry over from film-to-film. TBS recently used the movies as a branding tool for their series “Rookies,” a 2008 hit drama about delinquents who join a high school baseball team. Japanese dramas usually air weekly for a period of three months and have a season-long story arc with a beginning, middle and

end. The movie version of the series typically expands on this arc, though newcomers usually have no trouble following the story, even if they don’t understand all the relationships and in-jokes. To promote the film, TBS launched a promotion to lure viewers through Yahoo! Japan, the country’s leading net portal. The creators deliberately delayed casting some of the roles so aspiring actors would be encouraged to submit self-made audition tapes for review on a special Yahoo! Japan site. Users were then asked to view the “Rookies” and “Death Note” auditions and vote for their favorites, and the new actors will be cast in roles on the show. Additionally, users were encouraged to vote to help select one of the starring roles, which is still up for grabs amongst 15 celebrity models and actresses. All networks intensely promote their own films on the air, be it broadcasting the director’s previous films, inviting stars to appear on talk and variety shows or making programs about the production or location. One particularly effective promotional tool is a special episode that revives interest in an off-the-air drama series, while serving as a lead-in to the film version of the show. Fuji used this ploy prior to the release of its 2007 courtroom drama “Hero.” The original Fuji series had aired in 2001, but Fuji broadcast a special show with the original cast in July 2006 that scored a sky-high 30 rating. The film, released in September 2007, became the biggest domestic hit of the year, earning $84 million. O FALL 2009 | 17

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Notable spots from the world of design

The Beatles: Rock Band Introduction Cinematic Link: Creating a opening that covers the work of the most groundbreaking and successful band of all time must have been a daunting task, but The Beatles: Rock Band delivers with a video game introduction that brings to life their journey from “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to “I am the Walrus.” The psychedelic, dreamscape ending is full of intricate details that you have to pause to see. Client: Harmonix/MTV and Apple Corps; Production Company: Passion Pictures; Writer/Director: Pete Candeland; Art Director: Ryan Lesser; Executive Producer: Hugo Sands; Producer: Pete Maguire, Debbie Crosscup; Music Producer: Giles Martin; 2D Character Design/Development: Rob Valley; CG Character Design/Development: Ree Treweek

TCM 15th Anniversary Link: Working with only their archives of on-air work and scenes from some of the greatest movies of all time, TCM’s highlights of their past 15 years come together to exemplify how creative editing can be as valuable to a promo as any visual effect. Stirring and nostalgic, it reminds us why we love the movies. Client: TCM; Production Company: In-House; Creative Director: Pola Changnon; Art Director: Jin Lim; Producer: Scott McGee; Editorial: Sabotage Film Group

SpongeBob PSAs Link: SpongeBob SquarePants grows up with the appropriately named “Trippy,” “Hypnosis” and “Guru” spots, which introduce the beloved undersea character to MTV while celebrating his tenth birthday. Tunneling through a Technicolor passageway to a surreal cartoon world, these PSAs will have you wondering if you’re still sober. Client: MTV International; Production Company: PepperMelon; Director: Tomás García; Executive Producer: Fernando Sarmiento, Tomás García; Writer: Guido Antonucci; Art Director: Ivan Flugelman (“Trippy”), Tomás García (“Hypnosis”), Juan Molinet (“Guru”); Animation: Martin Dasnoy (“Guru” and “Hypnosis”), Ignacio Godoy, Martin Lapetina (“Trippy”), Julio Velazquez (“Hypnosis”)

BBC America DVD Open Link: Aside from actually blocking the skip option, there’s not much companies can do to stop consumers from fast-forwarding through the anti-piracy and “coming soon” messages on DVDs, but BBC America wised up, playing on the notion of their fans as Anglophiles who’ll swoon over anything with a British accent in this sly, humorous illustrated open. Client: BBC; Production Company: Valins&Co.; Creative Directors: Matt Christine (BBC America), Andrew Jackson (BBC America), Scott Valins (Valins&Co.) Producer: Vicky Lemont (BBC America), Michele Watkins (Valins&Co.) Design: Luis Aguirre (Valins&Co.), Mike Gordon (BBC America) Illustration: Devin Clark (BBC America), Mike Gordon (BBC America); Animation: Luis Aguirre (Valins&Co.); Copywriter: John Oliver (BBC America)

Fox Crime Link: Take a crash course in forensic science with Fox Crime as they investigate the skeletons from murder scenes in microscopic detail in order to piece together the crimes. Dark, mysterious and morbidly entertaining, and that’s just the show promos. Client: Fox Crime Italy; Production Company: Punga; Director: Tomi Dieguez; Producer: Patricio Verdi; Art director: Pablo Alfieri; Coordinator: Gaston Rojas; 3D Modelers and Animators: Ruben Stremis, Marcos de Lunardo; Compositing: Marcos de Lunardo, Facu Laboranti, Mariano Farias




From left: “Tattoo Highway,” “ABC’s “Lost” and BBC America’s “Torchwood”

The Power of the A-List NETWORK MARKETERS FIND EAGER AUDIENCES ON TV LISTING SITES BY DAISY WHITNEY For television marketers, there’s one venue that’s pretty much a must-buy — online TV listings. Sites like, and Fancast have become regular vehicles to promote new and returning shows as consumers increasingly turn to them to learn what’s on at any given moment. Nearly all premium, broadcast and cable networks say such online venues have become critical components of their marketing plans. “We have a tech-involved audience who rely on online listings, interactive program guide ads and their TiVo to help navigate program choices,” said Blake Callaway, VP of brand marketing at Syfy, which recently ran a marketing campaign to promote the network’s Comic-Con presence on Zap2it. com. “We are looking to do even more on future campaigns to take advantage of this point of purchase environment. When potential viewers are looking for program options, we can remind them to tune-in now or set their DVR.” TV listings are particularly appealing because visitors to these sites have already declared they are ready and eager to watch a show. “These sites are a given on nearly any network media buy because they are guaranteed to reach an audience that is proactively seeking out new entertainment options,” said Guy Slattery, SVP of marketing for A&E and BIO. “Since advertising in this context is usually seen as a service to their readers and not an

intrusion as it can be on other sites, they have proven to be some of the most flexible partners when it comes to providing customized solutions for their clients in the television industry.” Networks can be creative with their listings buys, customizing their section of the guide or having their programs appear first in the grid, such as Lifetime did for a spot they bought in There are also full-page takeovers, an ad format Showtime uses on for virtually all its A-level premieres. In fact, Showtime said was the top referring site for its “United States of Tara” paid media buy earlier this year. Then, there are custom campaigns, such as when A&E purchased site takeovers for both and and turned their logos into tattoos to market its show “Tattoo Highway.” “One of the key things on our site, in many cases, is the advertising itself is useful and so incredibly contextual that users aren’t making a distinction between the fact that it’s advertising and the utility of the guide,” says Christy Tanner, VP of marketing for, who likens the ads on a guide to those in a fashion magazine that blend seamlessly with the content. “You are coming to because you are a fan of TV and want to know what’s on.”

Targeting the Audience The network’s internal research from its panel of 10,000 users indicated about 53 percent said they became interested in watching a show because of an ad on the site.

attracts 19 million unique users a month, a 55 percent increase over last year. On, networks have run background animation, page takeovers and display ads. Because is partnered with TiVo, users can record programs on their TiVo directly from the site, with the option to record often embedded in the ad itself, said Kathy Tolstrup, general manager of sales and marketing for entertainment information at Tribune Media Services, which operates “We can’t compare with the big portals in terms of audience, but it’s a very targeted audience and a very effective buy,” Tolstrup said. attracts more than five million unique visitors per month. But other networks don’t lean on guides so heavily. With its male-skewing audience, History Channel prefers to spend its online marketing dollars on information-rich sites that align with its audience’s demographics and psychographics, said Chris Moseley, SVP marketing for the network. Targeting like-minded sites with video ads works better for her shows, she said. But, online listings do make sense as networks find more overlap between online and on-air audiences. “On-air throws to online are embedded in each of our programs, and we know that nearly 50 percent of our viewers seek out additional content on after viewing a show,” said Robyn Ulrich, DIY Network’s SVP of brand marketing and creative services. “The potential for increased viewership is significant if users can locate the TV program listing online.” O FALL 2009 | 19


The Art of the Organic

need caption


National Geographic

“For us, there is no ‘future of design’ as such, but a future of creation; the boundaries between different disciplines are smearing, and artists are increasingly multidisciplinary.”

-Teo Guillem

BY SHANNA GREEN Barcelona-based design studio Dvein believes in organic growth. To be more specific, Dvein (Design-video-&-interaction) has utilized organic evolution to take a seat at the table of some of the most recognized design outfits this year. The young company, which specializes in art direction, animation and interactive design has become a breakout success in the last 24 months, being invited to create the opening title sequences for the TOCA ME and F5 design festivals and being named one of the top “Design Studios You Won’t be Able to Afford Next Year” at the PromaxBDA Conference in June. The description rings true for their motion graphic work as well. Recent projects for Diesel, National Geographic and TOCA ME all have one thing in common — they look like micro biology was turned into living, breathing art evolving before the audience’s eyes. These lifelike designs are a long way from how founders Fernando Dominguez


and Teo Guillem, who met while studying design in school, began their careers. Guillem described their early projects, such as making flyers for trendy discos, as a gradual growth, over time improving their software techniques and design knowledge until they were able to actualize the images they had in their minds. In 2007, they founded the company with Carlos Pardo, and recently, they added an in-house producer. Today, the four person team works with international clients such as Hewlett-Packard, ESPN and Canal+. “I guess there is a moment when you start creating your own identity in the design and animation world and look for excuses to develop them,” Pardo said. “We’ve been working on this for a long time, over 10 years including the learning years, which, I guess, aren’t over yet.” Aside from their commercial projects, Guillem listed their three design festival opening projects, which they enjoyed the most creative freedom on, as the ones that have become landmark points for the



company and defined their reel. He named the F5 title sequence as the turning point for their creative vision, where they were allowed to experiment with new narrative structures as well as live action footage, the opening for TOCA ME as the work that led them to an organic treatment of objects and their visuals for international digital creation festival OFFF as their gateway into more futuristic worlds for their creations. “These projects had no budget, but gave us creative freedom without mudering deadlines, allowing us to enjoy the creative process to develop a solid idea, taking some time to experiment,” Guillem said. Their futuristic reel is a result of the projects they’ve undertaken, but the group stressed that they are now working on a more vintage and Old World look for their new projects and are using back-to-basics techniques as a way to distance themselves from being typecast. “Advertising and design are highly segmented fields, and if you do motiongraphics, you do a motion-graphics,” Dominguez said. “We are currently starting to create ads using ‘live action,’ so that our work is not only motion graphics, but also features a more natural approach, which we could never achieve through graphics only. “We do not want to lock ourselves in a world where everything is created by a computer. We try to shoot more and create less artificial worlds. We have always worked with a mixture of techniques, and in almost all of our body of work there is something real.” As design software and technology continues to experience exponential


growth, and inspiration and references are made easily available to anyone by an Internet search, Pardo reminded that it’s not just animation, visual effects and design capabilities that clients are hiring production companies for. They’re buying into the way that a designer sees the world and the unique way that they will process an idea. “The most interesting ideas arise when everything you accumulated during the last few days finally settles in your mind,” Pardo said. “In this world, reflection is sold dear, because everything has a tight deadline and it gets quite stressy, but when you have the opportunity to relax and just think, the best ideas emerge on their own from all the influences you’ve received.”

Guillem expanded on that concept for the future of the design industry as it’s faced with this new digital age, explaining that it’s not the tools designers now have available to them that will evolve the industry, but how they use them. “For us, there is no ‘future of design’ as such, but a future of creation. The boundaries between different disciplines are smearing, and artists are increasingly multidisciplinary,” Guillem said. “The future is in this mixture, in the creators’ application of various techniques and formats.” O

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Of all the rebrands this year, Syfy’s transition from Sci Fi has perhaps drawn the most interest as well as scrutiny from fans and critics alike. With the goal of making an immediate impact on the hardcore and casual viewers, network executives tapped UK’s Channel 4 creative agency 4Creative to handle their brand campaign as part of the brand evolution. “House of Imagination,” a twominute brand film designed to showcase the channel’s array of programming. The film quickly became a sensation not only within the design community, but also with its target audiences. House of Imagination was produced and directed by the award-winning 4Creative team led by director Brett Foraker, creative director Tom Tagholm, producer Shananne Lane and business director Olivia Browne, who were joined, specifically for this project, by director of photography Larry Fong (“Watchmen,” “300”) and production designer Tino Schaedler (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “V For Vendetta,” “The Golden Compass”) with visual effects by MPC (“Watchmen,” “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”). 4Creative’s executive producer, Lane, broke down the setup and execution of the film for brief. Premise – From “House” to Home The film features a mysterious house on a hill where a huge party is going on. We follow a couple as they tour the party, and, at every turn, catch glimpses of amazing things taking place. Goldfrapp’s “Happiness” provides the soundtrack for the trip through the never-ending house where anything can and does happen in each one-of-a-kind room. Magical sights in the film range from giant origami unicorns, 3D graffiti, an exploding and reforming games room and a Tyrannosaurus Rex, which turns out to be giant remote-controlled toy.


The house acts as a metaphor for Syfy and a number of the rooms relate to popular Syfy programs. Key Syfy personalities are featured including Tracy Morgan from “Scare Tactics” and Lou Diamond Phillips from “Stargate Universe.” The brand film concludes with the couple exiting the house into a suburban setting, unsure of whether their experience was real or the house was in fact a figment of their imagination. Then the Syfy logo and the strap line “Imagine Greater” come up.

The Set-up and the Third Dimension After being awarded the job last October, four months of preproduction began with script rewrites, storyboarding and an intense pre-visit with MPC culminating with a two-week set build. The sets themselves ranged from a classroom and a mini rainforest filled with more than a thousand real plants to a fairground built on the stage where the centerpiece was the original carousel from the MGM Grand Las Vegas. The main shoot took place in Los Angeles over six days with two camera units on three sound stages at Culver City Studios and with two exterior locations. There was an additional studio shoot in Los Angeles and a Motion Control shoot in New York to capture two extra actors and wrap the 73 storyboarded shots. Back at MPC London, effects work commenced immediately with cleanup and prep, matting, roto-scoping and prelim compositing of early 3D renders. On the 3D side, the team had to carry out look development and generate 3D assets that were unique to that sequence. In a threemonth period, MPC created more than two minutes of 3D-intensive HD imagery with a team of 30 artists. Luckily, access to high-end tools from the MPC’s feature film department meant that 3D production was sped up.

Executing the T-Rex While every part of the spot contains elements of shot sets and post production, the “Scare Tactics” room probably illustrates the journey better than any other. The classroom was built and dressed as three-and-a-half walls with no ceiling. The kids running out the door and plates of the classroom were shot in camera. Actor Tracy Morgan was shot against chroma-green four weeks later. The intention was to make the T-Rex have the appearance of a molded remote control toy but with the scale and ferocity of a real dinosaur. ”One of the challenges on the compositing side was to adjust the lighting of the backplate isself, to match the lighting that it was agreed would work best for the dinosaur,” said compositor Alex Harding. “To achieve this we used Nuke’s advanced 3D projection technology and the matchmove camera and geometry data. This way, I was able to dynamically create an array of subtle masks which were used to grade the walls to make them appear as if the lighting was more directional. The same projection technique was used to completely remove the original window reflections in the floor and replace them with a single reflection that incorporated Tracy’s shadow. Again, the 3D matchmove was used to (composition) Tracy himself in.” He noted that a myriad of 3D passes (occlusion, specular, reflection, diffuse, depth etc.) and MPC’s custom ‘Norman’ tool were used to grade the CG, subtly accentuate the lighting, match the focus and add shadows to the backplate. This process takes the rendered 3D the final steps to photo realism. The takes were selected and backgrounds graded while MPC’s CG department concentrated on modelling, texturing, lighting and completing early animations for the T-Rex. It was important for the creature to attain total photo reality while maintaining the characteristics of a classic remote-controlled toy. This was achieved through extensive look development tests and applying the practical set’s lighting information onto the CG creature. This shot ran the gamut of visual effects techniques including seamless composites of multiple plates, live-action matchmove, physics-based animation and photorealistic rendering.

“The main challenge was to integrate the massive toy dinosaur in that classroom and still make him look like a toy but just massive,” said 3D Supervisor Carsten Keller. “There was a couple of tests going on, working on textures in order to give him scale and detail, but not too organic — its stills needed to look like plastic. In terms of animation, it was quite tricky as well, because we are limited to the kinematics of a real toy, there was not that much for the animators to play with in order to make him act like a dinosaur and keep the movements still believable and interesting.” Since the launch of the brand identity, Syfy had its most-watched July ever in total viewers, while posted its most trafficked July ever. O

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SPECIAL REPORT Creativity in the Digital Age

Digital Whirlwinds Fueling a Brainstorm of Epic Proportions BY DAISY WHITNEY It’s a simple equation, time saved = more creativity, but it’s a powerful one that’s spurring producers to unleash new tools in their organizations. As their technology evolves, these new innovations are driving new ways to think, process and inspire creatives throughout the industry. Take The History Channel. You’ll notice different promos for the same show running during the day, the evening and late at night. That’s because the network can now produce more promos thanks to an internal tool called “VeeClips” that makes the sharing of promos during the production process easier and faster. Smoothing


out the production wrinkles in turn offers producers more time, freedom and creativity to craft multiple messages. “It’s pretty amazing how the technology has freed up people and given them more time to be creative,” said Tim Nolan, VP of on-air promotions at History Channel. “The key is people on my team are doing more versions. They do more cuts, and they are taking more risks because they have more time. Because it’s easier to share, you can do more variations.” History Channel is not alone. Networks, as well as advertising agencies like Deutsch and digital effects houses like Ring of Fire, say they’re leaning on technology to share, collaborate and work more


The History channel is producing more promos for programming such as “WWII in HD” and “Pawn Stars” using an internal tool called “VeeClips.”

“We are all doing more for less, and doing it faster, better, with a bigger smile than ever.”

-John Myers

efficiently. Indeed, software vendors like Adobe and Wiredrive, as well as home-spun solutions like History’s file-sharing tool are becoming de rigueur in the halls of production. Adobe’s tools are already omnipresent in the creative suites of Hollywood; now many producers and networks are also using Adobe Connect to work jointly on videos and photos in real-time. Then there’s Wiredrive, a data asset management tool that lets producers and creators share projects in various stages and receive input from others. Such tools are also eliminating wasteful portions of the creative process, like making dubs, popping them in envelope, shipping them, and of course, waiting. In addition to freeing up time, collaborative tools are also a conduit to new forms of storytelling and creativity, such as through Facebook’s Mass Animation project that brought animators together online to create a movie short releasing this fall. “With our internal tool, we can show video, share video, write show notes, create project folders, and execute rights on them,” Nolan explained. “So, I can create a folder just my team can see, or share with external partners, get feedback on or just have people view without criticism.” New tools also include easily accessible social ones like Skype and Twitter, as well as the device everyone has — a cell phone. The connective tissue is clients and colleagues are using both high-end and commonplace tools to contribute from their iPhones, computers or wherever they may be. Continued > > >

The digital age has brought about radical change in how the business sees entertainment content and how audiences are entertained. With no more primary source or platform, there is no truly dominant media brand. In today’s digital age, everything we do and touch in our daily lives, in every aspect, is multifaceted. This constant state of change and discovery, fueled by technology and exploited by visionaries, is what defines today’s creative challenge. Alvin Toffler hit the nail on the head when he wrote: “Change is non-linear and can go backwards, forwards and sideways.” Change is what guides the brand strategy, and change is where the creative solution may be found. From a technology and design perspective, creatives need to be comfortable working in a constant state of change, remaining flexible in their ideas and ready to adapt to whatever comes along, often in a moment’s notice. Most of us recognize that technology spurs our creativity and becomes another tool in expanding our creative art or expression. The more challenging aspect, however, is developing a keen understanding of how the digital age changes lifestyles and behaviors and what will be valued creatively moving forward. Digital technology impacts consumer behavioral patterns and those patterns, in turn, impact how entertainment content is delivered to the viewer in a never-ending circle. Brand evolution is also affected by the marketplace, competition and challenges. If the brand essence remains strong within the changing environment in which it lives, the audience will likely follow it across platforms. As long as the brand lives where the audience is, and considers them along the way, the journey is one that brand and audience take together. Creative problem solvers must explore faster and solve quicker. But, this need for speed can lead to some pitfalls. They can be too quick to dismiss potential ideas that on the surface may not appear to be the right solution. This impatience eliminates the opportunity to find the “diamond in the rough” by not allowing an idea to percolate long enough to come into its own. But with new understanding in brain plasticity and how we receive information, creatives now know that the message can be more permanently embedded in our consciousness, depending on its delivery. The brain patterns created using new technology set in motion a desire to receive information a particular way. Consumers want more simultaneous stimulation because it triggers familiar pleasure zones in the brain. Therefore, the message sticks. The impact the media has on the message is incredible. Creatives must follow the technology path and see how it is changing behavior because that is where your message will live next. In the end, however, the key to any successful brand is a solid foundation. Everything that happens to a brand after that singular moment of creative birth challenges the very foundation on which it is built. A brand does not live in a vacuum. It is a living, breathing entity that is affected by everything around it. It needs to be solid yet flexible. It needs to evolve yet have a clear, consistent message. It requires commitment and compromise. Technology certainly helps the solution or creative idea come to life, but it still all comes down to the creative idea, and that idea is generated by the most powerful tool ever made — the human brain. O FALL 2009 | 25

Advances are prompting more collaboration for projects i.e. “WWII in HD.”

“We are all doing more for less, and doing it faster, better, with a bigger smile than ever,” said John Myers, executive producer and partner with the digital effects and design company Ring of Fire which has recently worked on promos for series such as “United States of Tara” and “Heroes.” “Our tools, email, text, cell phone, office phone, MacBook Pro with mobile wireless devices, iChat, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, following blogs, all come into play in a given day. We are prepping and posting (work-in-progress) through tools like Wiredrive so our clients can view and comment on the work, anywhere in the world, at any time of the day, on their iPhones or PDAs.”

In addition to Ring of Fire, Wiredrive counts more than 500 clients including McCann Erickson, Deutsch, JWT, Goodby Silverstein & Partners and others. Erika Levy, the company’s VP of sales and marketing, said Wiredrive users have uploaded more than three million files and delivered more than two million presentations Technology also helps clients and creators deal with the increasing cost pressures during the recession. “Everyone is freelance these days it seems, so this helps keep overhead down and lets you have a virtual office and virtual meeting place,” Levy said. “If you are finished with one phase of a project, you don’t have to wait several days to get an answer. You can get it in an hour anywhere in the world.” Adobe’s Connect fills a similar role, enabling collaboration in real time on scripts, videos, photos or other parts of a project. Colleagues can look at the same piece of a project at the same time, explained Simon Hayhurst, director of product management at Adobe. “This is about the idea of ‘let’s do this now.’ I would either have driven or flown to you and shown it to you physically or put it on a DVD and sent it to you and that takes longer and costs more, as opposed to we hop on the phone and hop into a Connect room,” he said. Echoing what Nolan had described, Hayhurst said these new tools have the effect of creating creativity. “If you’re more efficient, you have more time to be creative,” said Hayhurst. “If you can share ideas more easily you can be more creative.” O

Social Creativity: “Mass Animation”

BY DAISY WHITNEY What if you were able to tap the minds of more than 50,000 people to develop a creative vision for your next project? Thanks to the digital revolution, that’s exactly what happened through a project with Facebook. When Sony Pictures debuts its animated alien adventure film “Planet 51” in the fall, theatergoers will be treated to a short flick before the main attraction. Pairing a fulllength film with a short is commonplace in animation, but what’s unusual about the warm-up act “Live Music” is it has been created by 51 different animators working in tandem through Facebook, and made a key step in the creation of true social creativity. The film is the brainchild of former Sony Pictures Vice Chairman Yair Landau, who’s now working independently as a director. The so-called “Mass Animation” project gave animators around the world the chance to contribute shots to Landau’s star-crossed

love story about a rock guitar that falls in love with a violin. “The goal was to bring a group of artists together online to tell a story,” Landau said. “We strongly believe that with current technology and connectivity, artists are empowered in new and unique ways and ‘Mass Animation’ is one flavor of that.” Animators were keen on the opportunity. The project attracted 57,000 fans on Facebook, including 2100 who downloaded shots, 123 who uploaded them and 51 whose work will be included in the final product. Those whose shots appear in the short film were paid $500 each and will receive a credit in the movie, Landau explained. His inspiration for the crowd-sourced short film originated from the gaming world, where players will often write their own codes and add entire levels to PC games. “As opposed to outsourcing a project

to India or Eastern Europe, we could create something online and amateurs and freelancers could come together and create a high-quality CGI story,” said Landau. “The vision was to empower animators who might be living in places where they otherwise would not a get a chance to work on a high-quality release.” The worldwide collaborative nature of the production took the film in new directions Landau did not plan for, but was delighted to watch unfold. That was the point — to use technology to craft a new type of story. “I defined the primary story and provided boards and character designs, and this just opened up the performance of the story and the character in places I didn’t think of,” he said. “It’s absolutely a better project.” Landau said he plans to work on more collaborative productions, possibly including one for a feature film. O FALL 2009 | 27

SPECIAL REPORT Creativity in the Digital Age



Sony’s Digital Approach is “Dead” On While new technologies have changed the way marketers and promoters do their jobs, it’s also changed the way they approach the creative process. brief magazine’s Shanna Green caught up with Marie Jacobson, EVP, programming and production networks for Sony Pictures Television, who oversees all acquired and original content for Sony’s international cable network, including Sony Entertainment Television, AXN and Animax. She is also launching Sony’s upcoming Web series “Woke Up Dead.” The series, featuring “Napoleon Dynamite” star Jon Heder, is about a college student who wakes up one day to find out he’s a zombie. Sony is using a combination of traditional on-air and online marketing tools, as well as gaming and social networking platforms, to promote the Web series, which they hope to eventually cross over to television. Jacobson discussed what her show is doing to stand apart from other online content, how digital distribution can guide the creative development process and what media executives working with online properties can learn from the traditional television landscape. Jacobson

How has the ability to watch content on multiple mobile devices changed the entertainment development process? As the business has morphed because consumer and spectators behaviors have changed, we really look to evolve our development and production process. That means essentially what we used to develop for one platform, TV, we now look very much to develop for a 360-degree platform. So, it’s very much TV, Web and gaming. Mobile is a key part of our strategy, it’s an extension of our strategy, but we are very much focused on TV and Web for every one of our brands.


When you have 22 minutes and three acts, you can only make a certain show. When you have multiple versions of a great story, and all of those threading back to the same source, I have to say, it is so fun. We have scripts that we love and a team that we adore, and we used some of our baby writers on the series to really populate the site and the blog and they were really able to get involved, in a way they wouldn’t be able to in a traditional TV setting. We have about four writers involved and all of them play about four characters in the online space. So, we’re really able to stretch and

play and create strand content around a central script. And, we have more latitude with that script that we would have in a more traditional TV environment.

Why did you decide to introduce “Woke Up Dead” via digital platform? It’s a couple of reasons. First of all, Jon Header. We look at him very much as the face and voice of this now digitally-abled group. These millennials are growing up with him with “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Blades of Glory,” and he’s really passionate about this space. Next, zombies are huge!

I say let’s take zombies versus vampires and see what’s more relevant now. We really wanted to be in that space. It’s something we swore we’d do two years ago. “We will build a zombie series and we still do it on all platforms.” Jon Heder really sparked to it, which got us excited, and when we looked at it in terms of an opportunity for digital, we saw the opportunity to not only leverage the networks we have all over the world with the main stream market to promote back to us, but the creative itself really spoke to digital. It is 23 five-minute episodes. It’s a really deep, super-fun blog site extension on top of that, and it’s a social game as well. We’re creating content for that important 14-to-34 demo, but we’re also creating dedicated content for dedicated platforms. We’re making a great series, we’re making a great site and we’re looking at games that kids not only will want to play, but share with their buddies.

differently. What we’re doing with “Woke Up Dead” that we haven’t done before is we’re setting out to create 23 high-impact, fiveminute episodes, but we’re also assembling a feature cut so we’re actually producing to feature as well with all sorts of content that’s never been seen before, and, ultimately, we’re basically looking to use the shorts as an opportunity to drive awareness for what will be the key creative in that marketing, which will be the feature cut that will go out on television. And in other instances, we’ll use the game as a viral marketing piece to drive to the shorts on one of our Sonyowned cable channels or on a third party cable channel. And, we’re really going to use search engine optimization every time we can, to get to the point that when you search “zombie” you get to (“Woke Up Dead” character) Matt’s blog, Ultimately, it’s just a lot of bites at the apple.

With targeting such a young, tech-savvy audience, what was your social media strategy to reach them?

With all of the content available online, from independent shows to network series, how do you make your series stand out in a saturated market?

It was very much 360 degrees with multiple entry points. We’re unique in this position here because we not only have a digital group pushing content for a digital space, but we also have that very traditional platform of television, so we have this massive platform to promote back to digital. Each of our individual characters in the series will Tweet. They each have their own profile pages. We’re going to go from top down, and we’re going to go from bottom up. The audience is everywhere and we’ve got to go after them wherever we can get them. It’s great if you can capture someone in the gaming space and with a great game, and that leads them to the series, or, you have someone who just loves Jon Header and they come in the series and sort of come in deeper and explore this world that is

How does Sony plan to make money off of this free online content? We do it in a couple of ways. From traditional licensing fees, where we sell this as a multi-platform opportunity with a big star and great production values to TV clients, mobile clients and broadband clients. We also go after advertisers, integrating their products in-show and finding unique ways to associate their brands with our content, and we’re looking at in-game transactions or micro-transactions in the social media space. So, we’re looking at, essentially, people buying into a game at a certain level and then leveling up with retail pricing, so there’s a lot of different ways to do it. In the past there’s kind of a different business models with different digital properties, but with “Woke Up Dead,” and with Jon

“Woke Up Dead” stars Krysten Ritter, Jon Heder and Josh Gad in Sony’s new Web series.

Header attached, we’re pretty confident that this will not only break even, but ,god forbid, be profitable and spawn more and more and more of these here at Sony in our international group.

The lines between entertainment and marketing products are becoming blurred as fans often seek out any piece of show content they can find, whether it’s meant to be promotional or not. How are you using this to your advantage? We looked at this one and saw it a little

Key partners. We are actually developing a very targeted promotional campaign capitalizing on Jon Heder’s face and reputation. I worked at Comedy Central in my prior life, and I reached out to one of them to produce a promotional campaign to support “Woke Up Dead.” I don’t want to give away the creative yet, but we’re basically exploiting what we have, which is killer talent and great creative, and we’re going to be calling out to fans of our talent in a very particular way. We’ll be doing a series of promos for this Internet series. Using my TV hat and how I promote key franchises, we’re actually going to attempt to create a Web-driven promotional campaign that uses Jon Heder and our fantastic ensemble cast to call out to fans, and we’re going to seed those promos all over and seed them throughout multiple platforms with multiple partners with a real call to action to Matt’s blog. I’m hopeful, and, again, it’s experimental enough because it’s the digital space. There’s no “How to launch a digital series page one.”

What are some of the challenges to working with content in a digital space? I’m really finding that there is a void in cross-platform teen young adult content. We’re looking to capture that 14-24 demo with arresting TV content, but more importantly, with a whole world that lives online. I think people are all scratching their heads on how do we reach kids, and I think kids are looking around for something that matters. I think the idea is that we can see TV and digital as the right creative, and it’s a big focus for us moving forward. O FALL 2009 | 31

SPECIAL REPORT Creativity in the Digital Age

MAKING MORE WITH LESS Creative Directors Seek New Sources of Inspiration If a revolution is by deďŹ nition a radical change, then the digital era has clearly inspired a revolution of thought. Creatives around the industry now face a plethora of mediums to incorporate and a myriad of options to consider. Top that with budget cutbacks that designers and creative directors now face, and, suddenly, the old model of tackling a project is pushed out the window. Now, with resourcefulness valued more than ever, PromaxBDA President Jonathan Block-Verk spoke with some of the industry’s top creatives to discuss the present and future of creativity.


Participating in the discussion were: Pedro Blanco, president and CCO, Blanco Lorenz; Bruce Dunlop, group creative director, Bruce Dunlop & Associates; Federico Gaggio, VP, Discovery Networks UK; Dolores Keating-Mallen, VP creative director, Corus Entertainment; Kendrick Reid, SVP and executive creative director, BET Networks; and Trez Thomas, VP, brand strategy and creative director, Bravo.

You have creative directors from different sectors: networks, cable, promo and international represented. What are some key creative trends that you are seeing evolving from the business of entertainment marketing? Bruce Dunlop: Smaller budgets and the need to be more resourceful. Luckily in the U.K or Europe, a lot of people have to do things with less money, with more resourcefulness. More will be done with program footage in the way of identity; less will go on shoots and shoots will be tighter. Kendrick Reid: That’s a great way to sum it up. Literally, we just got a slate of shows coming up, and there was no money to shoot, and you have to clip that spot. I feel like the pendulum is swinging. Back in the day, that’s all you had. The good thing about that is you have to come up with the most creative, inspiring thing, which is clips, and I remember coming to old PromaxBDAs back in the day, and people would scribble on paper, do lots of photography and do some really creative things. They used to have those sessions “Champagne Spots on a Beer Budget” and all that kind of stuff, whether they were doing a spot or doing an episodic, and it’s back to that again. Going, going, gone are those days of the shoots that launched these new shows. You just got to get blood from a turnip, basically.

Trez, you are just in the process of releasing your new redesign. How were you able to pull off something so great and creative with such tight budgets? Trez Thomas: You just make it happen. In all honesty, we had a budget that we knew we wanted to work with, and really everyone that worked with us was fantastic. We were very upfront with what the parameters were from the beginning. We also wanted to give everyone a lot of creative leeway so it was beneficial on both parts. I think that for quite a long time, nobody has gotten ripped off for redesign who has a production company. Now, because Bravo and most other companies are transmedia brands, it’s not just “What’s the new on-air package going to be?” and “How is it going to translate on the Web and the digital and on the phones and all of that?” So you are going to be bringing in two, three or four or five teams to collaborate and take this initial design concept and spread it out across the brand so that every place your brand touches, whether it’s on your network or your Internet proper, or it’s Hulu or it’s Amazon, you are getting it off of your little protective area, and you can also still make sure that it has the feel of the brand, and people know it’s you when they come to it. Dolores Keating-Mallen: We found that the less money you have the tighter your creative brief has to be. The more on target it has to be because you can’t mess it up. The times that you would spill money and spend more money to fix it are gone. We are really getting good at making sure that we are right on target and on strategy and all that kind of stuff before we start. Everyone is willing to play in the sand pit very nicely together even if you have no money. I think the wonderful thing for me is we use outside companies, and anything we can’t do we send out. We used to be able to have big budgets and even smaller ones, but the big players want to play with people with even small budgets. We are doing a rebrand right now for one of our horror channels, and there are so many people that want to do it because it is really kind of a sexy thing.

That is really cool that the work itself becomes the interest for the companies. Everyone wants to do it and pitch on it because it’s really kind of cool. What’s lovely is you have these companies that you could have never gone to before with $200,000 and say “I need a $700,000 package,” and they will play with you and they will do it. What we do then is partner with the stuff that’s off-air a little bit. We do a little bit of the advertising, we’ll do some of the online ourselves. We might even do the in-promo part of it while they do the idents. That makes us leaner, meaner and better at what we do, honestly. Your mental gymnastics have to kick in. Federico Gaggio: You need to be focused; you need your messages to cut through. But, you also have to be much more disciplined in how you are writing your briefs and how you are working with agencies. It has to be an integrated campaign; you need to reinvent it. One thing we’ve been doing in the U.K., because our media budgets have been cut and we can’t afford big campaigns with outdoors, etc., we’ve been using clever PR or a clever stunt. With the right PR or stunt, well integrated within a campaign, you can reach an amazing amount of coverage that reaches millions for $50,000.

How difficult is it to brand with all these platforms? How do you take these brands and make sure they stay on target with all these mediums? Keating-Mallen: The reality is that sometimes we have to go beyond just the consumer. We are doing almost as much on trade as we are on consumer. We’re no longer just talking consumer, we’re not just talking Facebook and Twitter and all the obvious stuff. We’re actually going and doing some sidebar things and getting into trade and business-to-business because we’re all in it for money. I work in a publically-traded company, so we have to make sure there is a return on investment. So, we have to use our creative teams for different things now. Thomas: You talk to your interns a lot. You ask them if something would appeal. It’s like having your own internal research. Dunlop: You can look at ITV, the biggest broadcaster in the UK, recently had their biggest week ever with a show called “Britain’s Got Talent,” two weeks later, however, lowest figures ever recorded. So, something is fundamentally wrong with that brand. That’s something they need to address, because ITV generated money from ratings, and they are not getting ratings except when they have something massive on. I’ve never seen that before where a network can go from here to here in such a short amount of time. They should have been able to drive people from that show into another program, and they didn’t do it. That goes to show that there are still some jobs in Europe that have got to have money spent on them because they need to look impressive. However, everyone is gun shy right now but there are still some jobs that you’ve got to spend the money because the alternative is not going to work.

At PromaxBDA, the agenda that we are pushing is that our members should be far more involved in fundamental business decisions in aggregating audiences. Are you seeing that creative is getting a larger seat at the table, and where does it fall in the matrix of business decisions in your positions? Dunlop: For a lot of brands now, the first thing they do is talk about money or the lack off. We had a big pitch on Monday for a brand unification, and they want it to first be cost effective. Continued > > >

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SPECIAL REPORT Creativity in the Digital Age

“It is the way you express the brand, it is the execution side of it, but you can’t have effective execution if you are not entirely clear as to where you stand as a brand, what your messages are and what your objectives are. Bringing the two together is a way more effective way of doing it.”

-Federico Gaggio

Gaggio: One thing I found really interesting is the move between the agent side and the client side. In certain places, creative gets much more involved in the strategic aspects of things, and I really actually enjoy that because we are in a commercial enterprise, we are there, creators are part of the marketing mix. We are not there to make it just look good; we are there to increase ratings and make more money. Creative is a necessary part of the marketing mix: It is the way you express the brand, it is the execution side of it, but you can’t have effective execution if you are not entirely clear as to where you stand as a brand, what your messages are and what your objectives are. Bringing the two together is a way more effective way of doing it.

Online, it would have been ignored five years ago, but you better not ignore online today.

Thomas: I would say Bravo is a phenomenally integrated company in that means. It’s like everybody — programming, marketing, advertising and promotions and ad sales — is very aware of what is going on and what is coming up and how it can be effective across the board, because you do have to get out in so many different ways these days as to so many different things.

Keating-Mallen: You look at broadcasting right now, and I know the States are the same as us. Everybody is looking for the broader appeal. I don’t know if you notice that, but we have broadened our horror channel to be less of a mystery, suspense that you can actually have legs and appeal to a broader audience. Same with Discovery a few years ago, it was more sciency and nerdy, but now when you look at it, it’s great shows.

A couple of weeks ago, you were talking about how Bravo has just really become a marketing driven brand with all of its products. Tell us about that? Thomas: Yes, lots of franchise and licensing and a heavy PR integration as you were talking about, which is something that has been driven by the top. Everybody needs to be integrated, know what is going on and be able to add to that and continue to drive the brand forward and expand. Dunlop: It is probably also really now a more focused look at the challenge itself and programming channel because most of the channels have the same sort of programming and now everything that we do is what is your point of difference because you are one of a lot of channels. The rebranding of Syfy next month is a really interesting one. Rebranding away from what everyone knows is stunning to accommodate all the programming votes. Whether it is right or wrong, I’m not sure, but it has to be a concentrated programming effort to getting everyone under the brand working in the same direction. Keating-Mallen: It’s so interesting, because we are pretty heavily driven by marketing and on-air, creative and stuff like that, but it’s just like three or four years ago where our creative and on-air was done separately from our creative off-air and our creative online. So now, we do so much more than just on-air; we get involved in so many layers as we can. You have to be relatable and move around and think of ideas even if that is where you did not grow up in terms of expertise. I find that the most interesting and invigorating, that you have to delve in and find areas that you just do not know about.


Reid: It’s literally that every idea needs to be 360. If you put an idea down, you have to say how does it work for this and how does it work for that. It’s challenging, but it’s exciting at the same time. Gaggio: The end result is quite good in a way, it makes you think harder. The idea needs to be simpler and more single minded. A lot of times in the past, I think that there was a bit of a blurred line between an idea and execution. You saw something, and it made it look fantastic, but wasn’t really an idea.

Thomas: I think that is where branding has to come in, right? It’s like that is where you have to understand that it may be competition and reality, but it is a Bravo competition reality. Both from the way it looks and from the overall feel and vibe attitude. It’s not getting easier.

Is it intuition? If a sales person has an opportunity to get $11 million in the door, how do you do it? Keating-Mallen: You say, “Thank you very much, this way please.” It’s interesting because we just did something with Dove, and we had Dove come to us and say “We want to do something with women.” They have this girl self-esteem program and we were so overjoyed. You know, creative doesn’t naturally fall into bed with the consumer side of things, but this is something that we love what their brands say and what their messaging for girls is and what their message for women is, and we just did a huge campaign for these guys that were so brand specific. We managed to pull all the brands together because the core wholesomeness of their brands and what they really wanted to do really matched their intent of what we had on our network. The brand integration, whether your print looks the same as your off-air and your on-air, that’s the kind of easy stuff that we have all been doing, because once you get your brand positioning and your attributes, you can’t really go to far off-kilter. But, I think the next step where it gets a little challenging is that the partner’s in there to add volume to your brand in the way that you want volume in your brand, not just money coming in the door, but something that actually resonates with the audience.

Reid: You know for me, it’s really a constant battle with the sales department because they will do pre-sales stuff and not tell creative, and then it’s like “We want you to find a way to integrate that into such and such a show,” and we’re like “Wow, really?” You have to come up with some kind of creative that is really challenging. They see dollar signs. I think it is an inherent problem with some networks that they will see the dollar signs before they see the brand value in it. Thomas: It can also be an exciting challenge, and I only say that because the consumer is so savvy to product placement and all of that. It is kind of the additional challenge, “Okay, how do we now do this to it: A. this is our brand, B. Benefits everybody, C. Doesn’t feel horrible and cheesy.” When you hit on it, it’s kind of like “Eureka”. Pedro Blanco: In my experience, I have been fascinated by the creative challenges specifically or sometimes overwhelming, in fact, during timing. But, I think what is fascinating to me is with all the interest and all of the attention, everyday more and more dollars are coming into the hybrid offerings that networks or channels are putting out there. There hasn’t been an organizational shift back at the company. It’s sort of “These are the guys that sell the stuff. We or some other company make the actual programming, and you guys, you have computers and cameras, and so you guys know how to do something.” There is this really fascinating thing by default, the promo the brain people in the company seem to be encouraged to do it. There hasn’t been a space properly carved out in terms of who has a seat at the table, and so it happens down stream, and it lands in peoples’ laps. Humungous decisions are being made on behalf of the voices, brands sometimes spend decades building them, and, all of the sudden, this brand is speaking to me. Just because someone is not looking out for the bigger picture, I just think that over time, there is going to be an organization — something in between. Thomas: I will say at Bravo — and I have only been at Bravo for a year so I can still kind of speak to it as a fan and an employee — I will say that everybody is phenomenally diligent in working with creative marketing and especially in this economy, because for everybody there are different dollars knocking at the door than what used to be knocking at the door, and I think that everybody still really takes into consideration is that if it worth this right now. If it’s not a fit, it’s not a fit. I feel really fortunate to be at a place where they do seem to have carved that out, and they do seem to be taking that into all of their decisions.

We started talking about briefs, how it has or needs to change or the emphasis. Give us your top tricks for either coming up with, writing or receiving a brief. Reid: Keep it brief, that’s number one. It’s very specific to what you want, who you are talking to and the brand, obviously. It’s very specific, and I take it one step further. So before I even call a design company, everybody has a clear understanding of the brand and what we want, but there is also a visual language that starts to be defined and be connected with that. So, it’s when I say “hotness” what does hotness look like to you, you and you? So, I will go through magazines and ads and my little blue boards. When I say that we are looking for “hotness,” “reality,” “sexy,” this is what it looks like for us so that design companies have a really clear visual, not only just an intellectual definition of what we are talking about. Keating-Mallen: I think your business subject fits right into the creative brief. We put in what our objective is: We want to grow our audience from here to here; we want to grow up because of this. You really have to be way more focused. Years ago in the Pittard and Sullivan days, you would write a brief and say “Give us a new image for the network,” and there was no creative direction. I think what it makes us do right now, for us as creative directors, is have a lot more fun. We do flesh out what is in the boards because of the inspiration as to where you would like to take it. Gaggio: Totally agree! You have to be so simple-minded and so careful in what you want to achieve. It’s about getting the humility to know before everything comes back to you in the creative pitch and it’s wrong, you have to look at your brief. There must be something wrong in the brief, it can’t be that everyone gets it wrong, and they are all stupid. We went back and rewrote the brief and then we got it. I think you have to be real specific and real clear. If you are not clear yourself, who else can get it? Blanco: Often we help them rewrite the brief. They give us the best they can sometimes, and then we reformat it, rewrite it, add lots of good rules and make sure that we are all working off a great brief by our standards. Everything we do, we also ask our clients, and our internal clients to put it into very simple language, and, if this thing was wildly successful, what does someone say to someone else. What does the client tell his colleague, what does the viewer tell his friend? What does success look like? O

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BY HILLARY ATKIN Turning 40 is a milestone event, but it seems almost implausible that Bert, Ernie, Elmo, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster and the whole gang are about to enter Season Big 4-0 on “Sesame Street,” and have propelled the franchise as one of the world’s only nonprofit companies to boast a global awareness rating that ranks on par with some of the most recognizable brands in the world. The longevity of the PBS television program, and the love felt for it and its characters by young viewers and parents all over the world, is a testament to the vision of Joan Ganz Cooney, who led the effort in the late 1960s to create an educational, non-commercial alternative to children’s programming that was on the air. The series quickly turned into appointment television for families through the efforts of the show working with PBS. “The show was born out of a quintessentially American context for disadvantaged kids to prepare for school — using television techniques of commercials to enable learning letters and numbers,” said Gary Knell, president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization which oversees the program. “It was a groundbreaking experiment, proving that the power of television could be successfully used to educate our nation’s children.”


Bridging the Generation Gap BY HILLARY ATKIN Talk about longevity in show business, and not many people can match what Caroll Spinney has achieved, with iconic roles on television for the past 40 years. Since “Sesame Street” first began, Spinney has portrayed both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. He has traveled throughout the world performing these characters, much to the delight of children everywhere. In 2006, he received the Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and he is also the recipient of two Grammy awards. In 2000, the Library of Congress declared Spinney, as Big Bird, a “Living Legend.” Spinney took time out from taping “Sesame Street” at its studios in New York to speak with PromaxBDA about the evolution of “Sesame Street” and its brand.

You were initially recruited by the legendary Jim Henson. What changes have you seen since you began performing on “Sesame Street” at its inception in 1969? Spinney: From the beginning, it was planned to be an experiment in children’s television. It retains that same pioneer spirit to this day, although it found its stride early on. We continually adjust the show to go with the times and don’t rest on our laurels. When we started, there was a lot of criticism that we were attempting too much in education, that children shouldn’t be taught the alphabet that young. Some people back in the 1960s were anti-alphabet! There were attitudes like that when we started, and critics said everything happened so quickly. Now, kids are reading at three. In those days, TV teaching was slow and tedious. One of the great things is that “Sesame Street” was conceived to be very educational, but had to be just as entertaining and funny.

Sesame Street has also been able to harness new technologies to reach viewers and impact the brand as a whole. “Sesame Street was created the same year PBS was created and both brands became intertwined,” said Lesli Rotenberg SVP Children’s Media and PBS Brand Management. “It all starts with the ‘Sesame Street’ story of using television and technology to teach children and specifically to reach children who are disadvantaged. That’s the story of Sesame Street as well as PBS Kids.” During its 40 years, it’s estimated that “Sesame Street” has reached more than 77 million children globally. The series is now seen in 140 countries, and even in this changing media landscape, it remains the singular icon of children’s educational programming. Continued > > >

What are your favorite elements of Big Bird’s character, and Oscar’s? Spinney: Children identify with Big Bird. I get a lot of fan mail telling me that I’m their friend and asking me to come visit them. Big Bird has a sweet nature, and he wants to please. He’s not perfect, and he makes mistakes, and that’s something that has worked very well for the show. When I make Big Bird come to life, I’m in seventh heaven. Oscar is a curmudgeon. We say he’s a grouch, but not a monster. One woman told me how much Oscar meant to her as a child. One day she saw him saying “no” to an adult, and she didn’t realize she could do that also. She said she felt empowered as a human being to express herself and that having the right to say “no” changed her life. I had never heard that angle. It’s why Oscar has some value to the show playing a negative character.

What inspired you to get into puppeteering at such a young age? Spinney: When I was about five years old, I saw a puppet show in Waltham, Mass., and thought it seemed so exciting. Afterward, I came across a puppet for a nickel, plus I had a stuffed green snake, a gift from my mother. I built a little puppet theater with crates and benches for people and put up a sign — “Puppet Show: Two Cents.” Sixteen people came. I made 32 cents, and, in 1942, that was a lot of money. You could buy four pieces of candy for a penny, and a newspaper was two cents. At Christmas, my mother gave me nine puppets and a puppet theater with curtains that she had built with my older brother. I was nine years old and she didn’t realize she was giving me my career that morning. In 1960, I saw Jim Henson’s Muppets doing commercials and I thought, “That’s what I want to do.” Eventually, I was in the right place when he was scouting, and he asked if I would like to join the Muppets. I could not believe it. He explained that it was for a new show called “Sesame Street.” It was thrilling to work with Henson and Frank Oz. O


FALL 2009 | 37


“’Sesame Street’ made such a contribution in so many ways to pop culture and entertainment, and it still holds such prominence after 40 years,” said executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente. “Very few shows still hold the same level of respect and admiration.” One key to success for the brand has been the producers’ mantra to continually reinvent the show. That’s allowed PBS continue to maximize the company’s relationships as a partner with its viewers. “We’ve always had a special relationship with parents as a brand,” said Rotenberg. “ We think of ourselves as their partners in choosing the best ways to teach and reach their children and help their children to grow.” As the media landscape has evolved, so has the Street, reaching out with its message on multiple platforms, including a robust website. “Media content — whether it’s delivered through the television screen, a hand-held device or in a video game — can play a powerful role in children’s education,” said Knell. “The Web is flattening everything. You can cross over into other realms by creating communities of parents who connect to Big Bird, or learn lessons of military families. Digital media has evened the playing

field and put us in a better competitive position. We believe ‘Sesame Street’ is a very powerful brand that will do very well in the digital world.” Sesame Workshop’s tagline is “The nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street and so much more.” There are 15 other programs in addition to “Sesame Street” the workshop has created. Because it is nonprofit, revenue growth is derived through licensing, corporate sponsorships and philanthropic efforts. Characters on the programs never directly endorse or are shown using particular products, but protecting the brand through alliances with quality products is of the utmost importance and reflects the trust that viewers bestow upon it. “We’ve turned down food marketing that is not healthy. We’ve set a series of standards to pass muster, only those that will promote healthy habits,” Knell said. “We try to be a leader in toy safety, and we’ve been at the forefront, working with manufacturers that take very seriously the health and welfare of their consumers, putting in time and effort to make sure their products are safe and parents can trust them.” In addition to toys, books and DVDs, there are collectibles, clothing and

The original cast of “Sesame Street”

PBS and the “Sesame Street” Effect reach kids with the same mission. You can actually use technology and use media to teach children about the world and reach children in ways you never could before. That’s the big idea that fuels the entire PBS Kids brand.

What are some of those innovative steps that come to mind? Multiple generations of families are now forever impacted by the lessons learned from “Sesame Street” and PBS. brief interviewed Lesli Rotenberg, SVP of Children’s Media and PBS Brand Management, about the show’s impact on the PBS brand.

Given the history and how “Sesame Street” has impacted multiple generations, how does PBS work with “Sesame Street” to get the message out there? It’s interesting to look at how long “Sesame Street” has been around and how much it’s influenced so many generations of children who are now parents and the long term impact of this cultural icon on America. But, “Sesame Street” to me is also talking about PBS. “Sesame Street” was created the same year PBS was created, so when I think about “Sesame Street’s” history, I think about PBS’ history. It’s all woven together. We do that with “Sesame Street,’ which is still our most iconic brand and series. Also, we have built on that legacy with a number of other properties and are coming up with new, innovative ways to


Lesli: Our interactive team that works on recently experimented with teaching kids in new ways using new technology. They found this company that is developing the proprietary technology for advertising that allows you to create a video, stop the video, interact and continue the video. But, instead of applying it to advertising, they have now applied it to our website so that you can now go in to some of our video content, be it a clip or a show, watch it, and right in the middle of it, it will stop and you can play a game. The game will help them to learn the concept. So, if it’s about comprehension, you have to find all the words that were spoken that were not real words and press a button and see if you got it right.

household furnishings that are marketed under the “Sesame Street” brand. “The brand has to be consistent with the founding drive of the organization,” said Knell. “Brands are not what you say but what you do — no amount of spin can turn a cow into a chicken. In our case, a nonprofit needs-driven media company, we protect that brand that the public has come to trust. That’s the secret brand equity.” Another element of the brand is the sly sense of humor that appeals to both children and their parents on different levels. Parodies like “Pre-School Musical,” “30 Rocks” and “Are You Smarter than an Egg Layer?” keep watching parents entertained while serving the mission of educating their children. “A’s Anatomy,” “ RSI: Rhyme Scene Investigation” and “Meal or No Meal” also teach cognitive and social skills in the signature Street way — with strong role models whose primary goal is to help children succeed in the world. “One of the things we’ve always strived for is a dual humor — having a child engaged in the show while the parents also find it amusing,” said Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop’s EVP and CMO. “The humor is not lost on the child, but they may

not get the underlying parody. At the same time, we’re stressing social openness with respect for differences and diversity. It’s consistent around the globe. We’re teaching children from conflicted regions what they have in common and to have respect and understanding for each other.” Another important aspect of the brand identity is getting involved in children’s health issues, including childhood obesity, asthma, flu vaccinations and AIDS awareness, along with their emotional wellbeing. “A few years ago, we started ‘Healthy Habits for Life.’ It’s really about giving kids a healthy lifestyle: foods, exercise and plenty of rest,” Parente said. After four decades, the people behind “Sesame Street” still manage to keep it fresh, and the show continues to appeal to generation after generation of the target audience: two- to four-year-old children. But, as the saying goes, this is not your father’s “Sesame Street.” These days, even young preschoolers have a pretty sophisticated palette and appreciate the celebrities and musicians who make guest appearances. At least 250 celebrities have participated during the show’s run. “So much of the brand is content, but its look and feel is very important,” Westin

said. “The challenge is to have it look and feel contemporary. That starts with the visual identity, the graphics and interstitials. It’s a wonderful palette, brand new and fresh. It’s uniquely pastel. It looks like chalk on asphalt. It feels urban, but very appealing. It will have everything that parents who grew up on it loved.” As Parente sums it up, “That’s the magic of ‘Sesame Street.’ We find a way to stay relevant year in and year out.” O

really a rich resource on helping to make the best choices for children. For example, when it comes to media choices, what programs are good for my children at certain stages of development and what can I do as a parent to extend that learning entity. We take on topics that parents are interested in such as healthy habits, lifestyle choices, etc. That’s one way we communicate with parents. Another way is that we are constantly in the field with both parents and children. Of course, we also directly market to parents and children about services that are new.

How have you leveraged the success of “Sesame Street” to your other programming?

It’s really like interactive TV, a really innovative use of technology that people might be using in a commercial sense with the PBS way. We say, “That’s really cool. How can we use this technology to teach kids?”

How do you let parents know that this is out there? What’s the marketing strategy behind that? We’ve always had a special relationship with parents as a brand. We think of ourselves as their partners in choosing the best ways to teach and reach their children and help their children to grow. We have a website that we’ve built called that’s

We have a relatively new show call “Super WHY.” It’s interesting because the creator studied under one of the top researchers at “Sesame Street” and created this show. “Super WHY” was based on her work on figuring out how to get kids to read using television and media. It’s one of those programs that is built on the legacy of “Sesame Street.” She studied “Sesame Street,” she learned from “Sesame Street,” she studied under some of the creators of “Sesame Street.” Then she added some new techniques. She’s one of the people who created “Blue’s Clues.” The mission that “Sesame Street” started with, is the mission that all of our content and all of our producers share, and it’s expanded in that we’ve done a good job reinventing ourselves. “Sesame Street” talks about every season being an experimental season and shaking up the format, but I think that’s true as well of PBS as a whole. O

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SPECIAL REPORT Hispanic Marketing

Clockwise from top: MEXICANAL’s “Cuadrilátero;” Telemundo’s “Niños Ricos, Pobres Padres” and “Levántate;” Nick Jr.’s “Dora the Exploer;” TBS’s “Lopez Tonight;” Telemundo’s “Victorinos”

CRAFTING A LATIN SENSATION Growing Demographic Packs a Punch for Channels BY WAYNE FRIEDMAN As networks scramble for audiences, one growing sector of the business continues to bask in the spotlight for marketers searching for new ways to draw viewers. Hispanics rank as the fastest-growing minority group in the U.S. with Hispanic TV households projected to nearly triple in size between 2010 and 2050; growing from 13.1 million to 38.9 million households. That rapid growth of viewers in the U.S. TV marketplace has created a slew of opportunities, not always only attached to Spanish-language entertainment.


Not only are Univision and Telemundo the two biggest Spanishlanguage networks in the U.S., boosting their marketing efforts with slick, modern creative, but English-language networks, such as ABC with “Ugly Betty” and TBS with the forthcoming “Lopez Tonight,” starring comedian George Lopez, are weighing in. Additionally, there are a number of new bilingual and English-only networks looking to target Hispanic-American viewers. All this comes on top of longtime general TV research about Hispanic viewers.

“Spanish-speaking viewers watch a lot more television than the general market,” said Carlos Ferreyros, creative director at New York-based Television brand strategy, design and animation agency CA-Square. This has pushed major endemic Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo to up the ante, doing more off-air marketing, outdoor media, as well as starting licensing divisions. “There is a proliferation of consumer marketing to bring viewers in and keep the ones they have,” said Danielle Gonzales, SVP and managing director of Tapestry, the multi-cultural media unit of Starcom MediaVest Group. For example, she said Telemundo has been using outdoor marketing for its novellas and Univision has started up branded credit card to deepen their viewers connections with retailers.

“We know there are multiple opportunities to target diverse audiences. It is not just Hispanics...There are George Lopez stand up fans, late night viewers and African-Americans as well...The only way we are going to grow is to attract new audiences to TBS.”

-Jeff Gregor

Both networks have been doing more digital marketing as well. Jacqueline Hernandez, COO of Telemundo, said the network has added more digital marketing efforts including search engine marketing, search engine optimization, viral marketing and widgets. “We have been able to create really fun fan pages on Facebook, on Twitter,” she noted. “We have been on NBC cable (with TV promos) and on English-language channels, as well as doing in-cinema marketing.” It’s not just Spanish-language broadcasters catering to this ever-growing audience, English-language programmers’ have also joined the parade. Oswald Mendez, managing partner of integrated communications for The Vidal Partnership, noted that just the appearance of a Hispanic-centered shows creates its own marketing spin. For instance, he said ABC’s ongoing drama “Ugly Betty” continues to speak to both Hispanic and general-interest viewers, and ABC has taken advantage of this, doing targeted marketing of Hispanic viewers for the show. But the best networks, he said, are actually those targeting kids. Mendez touted Nickelodeon’s “Dora The Explorer” and “Go Diego Go” as shows that have been successful in this.

Sages of the Spanish Market

Danielle Gonzales

Carlos Ferreyros

SVP and Managing Director Tapestry

Creative Director CA-Square

Want to be the media underdog with a long term growth potential? Come to Hispanic media, said Danielle Gonzales, SVP and managing director of Tapestry, a division of Starcom MediaVest Group. “I really had a passion for it,” said Gonzales, who has been with the agency for 15 years. “There’s a whole education process, a lot of advocating. What I really like about (it) is there is (an) underdog aspect to it. When there is success, it’s really awesome.” Working at Tapestry, Starcom’s multicultural division, Gonzales started with a modest staff of six people, which has now grown to around 60. Her vast array of clients now include Procter & Gamble, Walt Disney, Best Buy, Allstate and Burger King. “That’s what I love about my job,” she said. “I get to touch many different businesses.” In 2005, while at Tapestry, she struck one of the largest media deals ever in Spanish television history — a three-year partnership with Univision worth more than $100 million.Tapestry is now responsible for 20 percent of all U.S. Hispanic media dollars. Gonzales also helped develop the first branded mini-novella for P&G Secret airing in primetime on Univision. She and her team also created the first-ever Miller Hispanic digital game housed on Yahoo! Telemundo and Yahoo! Games. O

Though closely associated with a number of Spanish-language television networks, TV brand strategist and designer Carlos Ferreyros says future promotion expertise will grow at the intersection of English-language, general-interest and Spanish-language TV efforts. “What will be interesting to see is the moving away from an either/ or to an integrated experience on television,” said Ferreyros, the creative director and a founding partner of CA-Square, a New Yorkbased TV branding and design agency. A native of Peru, Ferreyros came to the U.S. more than 15 years ago working for Telemundo and Univision in senior creative positions. He then started his first TV brand marketing company, Cyclops, where he worked on promo campaigns for Nickelodeon, Telemundo and local TV stations. Ferreyros also had stints at creative agencies Lee Hunt Associates and Razorfish, working on campaigns for Disney Channel, Toon Disney, Fox International and Fox Kids. One of his bigger campaigns was rebranding the Fox Kids Network’s global efforts. Working on many general-interest TV networks has given Ferreyros a key perspective for future bilingual and English-language Hispanic TV campaigns. For example, he has done branding work on SiTV, the new cable/multi-cast local TV network that targets Hispanic viewers with English-language programming. “Increasingly, there is a cache to having a second language,” he said. All this, he said, will put special challenges on existing and Spanishonly networks programming and marketing efforts. O

Continued > > > FALL 2009 | 43

SPECIAL REPORT Hispanic Marketing

Sages of the Spanish Market

Oswald Mendez

Managing Partner of Integrated Communications The Vidal Partnership The Vidal Partnership’s managing partner of integrated communications, Oswald Mendez, says the Hispanic marketplace allows much more media buying/ programming freedoms that can’t be made with general interest TV networks. “There is so much more opportunity with these consumers who aren’t as jaded as the generalmarket consumers,” Mendez said. “We are able to partner up with the networks much deeper. We are able to affect programming decisions with the creation of our own content.” Mendez has made major programming-marketing deals with the biggest Spanish-language TV networks groups in the U.S. — Univision and Telemundo. A six-year veteran at The Vidal Partnership, Mendez has worked with a variety of clients, and has also started up a branded entertainment division at the agency. Before Vidal, he ran all Latin American operations for Universal McCann. Working at McCann-Erikson, he had responsibilities as an EVP and regional director in running pan-regional media at the Universal McCann brand throughout Latin America. Concerning the growth of the Hispanic TV market, he said the challenge will be deciding where these channels get their future media dollars. “Where do these networks fit from a channel mix perspective?” he asked. “Do they fit in the budgets that we managed, that are being stretched enormously, or do they fit in the general interest budgets?” O


Lino Garcia

General Manager ESPN Deportes When ESPN Deportes General Manager Lino Garcia was working in marketing for HBO en Espanol — now HBO Latino — in the mid-90s, it turned out to be a massive programming and marketing challenge. Only 20 percent of the network’s programming was in Spanish, the majority of its content was Englishlanguage movies and TV series that were dubbed with voice-overs. “It was much more about marketing than working the content,” said Garcia. “We had to be much more creative than the (Englishlanguage) broadcasters.” For instance, programming interstitials became a key marketing tool Garcia worked on. Many new Hispanic-targeted programs have their foundations at marketing ideas, said Garcia. In 2006, he helped revive ESPN’s realitycompetition show “Dream Job” for ESPN Deportes’ Hispanic audience. In the original show, contestants compete for a sports reporter/anchor job on “SportsCenter.” Garcia, who has been with ESPN Deportes since 2003, helped re-market the show as “Dream Job: El Reportero” where the competition was re-focused for a Hispanic audience. The winner won a sports reporter job working on the 2006 World Cup soccer event in Germany. Before his current position at ESPN, Garcia served as VP of affiliate marketing and local ad sales for Universal Television. Prior to that, he was VP and general manager of Sony Entertainment Television from where he was responsible for all Latin American cable television operations. O

“You have a Nickelodeon who is doing an amazing job at actually merging the two cultures where kids are growing up seeing themselves represented in the programming,” he said. Later this year, another English-language cable programmer, TBS, will launch “Lopez Tonight,” starring Mexican-American comedian George Lopez. Jeff Gregor, CMO of Turner Broadcasting’s TNT and TBS said Turner will developing specific marketing plans for Hispanic consumers. “We know there are multiple opportunities to target diverse audiences. It is not just Hispanics,” he said. “There are George Lopez stand up fans, late night viewers and African-Americans as well,” he said. “The only way we are going to grow is to attract new audiences to TBS. It’s a recognition that we air shows that have cross-over appeal.” Hispanic viewers could be a bigger part of the mix for TBS for several reasons. Starcom’s Gonzales noted that Hispanic viewers not only watch more syndicated TV shows than other viewer groups — including Lopez’ own off-ABC show, “The George Lopez Show” — but they watch more latenight viewing. Another marketing point to consider, according to Ferreyros is that Lopez’s audience comes from more bi-lingual viewers. ABC’s “Ugly Betty” Hispanic TV marketers say this is all part of an increasing bilingual mix of marketing efforts stemming from a new wave of Hispanic-targeted, young-skewing networks. For example, Telemundo has had its mun2 channel since 2001, which targets young Spanish-speaking viewers with programming in both Spanish and English. Additionally, there’s the new SiTV network, also a young-skewing cable and local digital channel which offers English-language only programming to Latino viewers. TV executives say some Hispanic marketing efforts to grab new viewers are simple. “We can actually have shows with Latinos in them in English,” said Maria Perez-Brown, SVP of programming for SiTV. This goes along with one long-held view by entertainment marketers that casting decisions are marketing decisions. But some believe all this is not enough, especially when it comes to big general-interest, Englishlanguage broadcasters. “There is some low hanging fruit to go after. It’s a no-brainer,” says Pedro Blanco, president and COO of Miami-based Blanco-Lorenz Entertainment Branding, which has done work for Univision and Telemundo. “Where are the billboards (in Spanish) promoting big shows like ‘American Idol?’ In terms of marketing, it is about education. That’s all.” O

SPECIAL REPORT Guerrilla Marketing

SCENES OF GUERRILLA WARFARE Economical Stunts Impact the Power of Generating Buzz

BY CHRIS PURSELL We’ve all heard the phrases, whether it’s “Think Global, Act Local” or “All Promotion is Local,” as a mantra for good campaigns, but the collapse of marketing budgets around the industry has seen an increased need for local stunts and guerrilla marketing as executives scramble for resources and cut so-called frills. “A creative PR stunt can provide an extremely cost-effective way to gain cut-through into the news and editorial media pages and provide a significantly higher return on investment than paid for advertising,” said Peter Mountstevens, managing partner of Taylor Herring Public Relations in London. “With the right idea, a brand can also engage with its audience on


a far more meaningful level than traditional marketing channels allow — building in experiential and interactive elements.” Successful promotional stunts continue to draw the attention, not just of potential audiences, but millions of dollars in free media coverage as well. In fact, recent studies found that media channel effectiveness for building brand equity has also shifted materially. While television is still ranked as the most important outlet for effectiveness in building brand equity with 64 percent, according to a recent study, guerrilla/word-of-mouth/buzz marketing now ranked nearly on par at 57 percent. Recent examples of stunting include AMC broadcasting the first episode of “Mad Men” in New York’s Times Square while

CBS targeted nail salons in major markets to breed word of mouth for the upcoming comedy “Accidentally on Purpose.” The salons were given nail dryers embedded with video screens that ran a clip of the show as well as branded nail files. Fox recently created nationwide interest as well as national publicity for the summer-long guerrilla marketing promotion for season six of “House,” prominently displaying a cryptic image of snake entwined on a cane, drawing the symbol in chalk on New York City streets, among other places, to spread the symbol sans context. Phase two featured a countdown clock to the show’s premiere date while short subliminal ads aired on the channel and a full page ad ran in a publication without a title or tunein date. Joe Earley, Fox’s EVP marketing and communications, noted that creating word of mouth buzz has become increasingly instrumental in a world of more choices but smaller budgets. “It’s incredibly important to get a great grassroots, word-of-mouth discussion going across the country,” said Earley. “I think that you can see a lot of networks and brands focusing on word-of-mouth right now, it’s a nice, buzzy phrase but you want to make sure the audience continues to be engaged.” Experts say that its engagement that provide the best results. “The best events provide an engaging, relevant interaction that crystallizes the brand message, lets people sample the brand and leaves them wanting more,” said Stuart Ruderfer, Co-CEO of Civic Entertainment Group. “Authenticity can make a profound impact, too. To promote HBO’s film ‘Recount,’ we hunted down the actual voting booths from Florida responsible for the “hanging chads” that triggered the 2000 recount. We brought them to Union Square in NYC and The Grove in LA for consumers to punch genuine butterfly ballots and see if their votes would have counted.” For HBO, which has held promotional events that captured media attention for series ranging from “Entourage” to “True Blood,” the keys to success are to stay true to their brand. “The nature of our shows has created a great platform for guerrilla tactics,” said Zach Enterlin, VP of advertising and promotions at HBO. “From an HBO perspective, it’s really great to have something different and innovative that goes beyond the normal campaign and pays dividends for us.” Ruderfer, who has been involved in a number of promotional events with HBO, noted that with shoestring budgets, smaller companies should be utilizing these tactics, although with the proper planning.

“An emerging company can use events to quickly capture attention — news stories about a stunt reach a much broader audience than the event itself. And experiential marketing can be tightly targeted, by geography or audience, helpful when budgets are tight,” he said, noting that careful planning would be needed to avoid disaster. “Plan ahead, and work with experts,” he said. “Before staging an event, consider location, timing, traffic, security, staffing, talent, weather. Choose a location that’s appropriate to your brand as well as your audience, where your message will stand out. See your event the way the public will see it when they come to it cold. Know what else is going at the same time around you — sporting events, concerts, conventions — so you don’t get upstaged.” Of course, there are pitfalls. In 2005, Snapple created the world’s largest frozen juice popsicle in New York City, weighing 17.5 tons as a promotional gimmick. Unfortunately the giant treat melted in transit and flooded the streets surrounding Union Square Park. Experts suggest thinking the idea through for any possible negative reaction for implementing stunts. “Stay focused on the ROI and the desired outcome. Always interrogate the idea thoroughly and consider anything that could go wrong,” said Mountstevens. “We all recall the Superbowl’s ‘Nipplegate’ meltdown and Cartoon Network’s stunt for ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’ when magnetic lights that were positioned around Boston looked a little too similar to explosive devices and lead to a full-scale bomb scare. Similarly, an official looking mail shot to promote the TV crime show CSI in the UK caused widespread panic a few years back as old ladies opened their mail and believed a serial killer was on the loose.” O

From top: The CNN Grill gave attendees of the 2008 political conventions a buzz; ESPN gave players NFL Fantasy Draft parties across the country; first-ever branded airline route, “Entourage Air.” Opposite page: CBS Television Distribution drew witnesses with crime scene for off-net launch of “CSI: New York.”

“Before staging an event, consider location, timing, traffic, security, staffing, talent, weather. Choose a location that’s appropriate to your brand as well as your audience, where your message will stand out. See your event the way the public will see it when they come to it cold. Know what else is going at the same time around you — sporting events, concerts, conventions — so you don’t get upstaged.” -Stuart Ruderfer

FALL 2009 | 47

SPECIAL REPORT Guerrilla Marketing







With “The Vampire Diaries” on deck for The CW, network marketers opted to go for the jugular when it came to local promotion. To generate a buzz from potential audiences in the channel’s demo, The CW Network, Alloy Media + Marketing and the American Red Cross joined forces to create blood drives at more than 230 high schools and college campuses across the nation. The “Starve a Vampire. Donate Blood.” initiative ran for five weeks with specially branded “The Vampire Diaries” material promoted through Alloy Media + Marketing’s nationwide media network, including high school display media and college newspapers. Brand ambassadors also distributed flyers and other materials encouraging students to register in advance to participate in the blood drives. “When we came up with the idea of doing blood drives in support of ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ we knew it was something that our local stations could really get behind, and they have in a big way,” said Rick Haskins, EVP marketing and brand strategy for The CW. “In fact, some of our affiliates are extending the promotion and planning ‘Vampire Diaries’ blood drives all the way out to Halloween, which we think is fantastic.” The stars “The Vampire Diaries” also got involved, showing up at the campus at Georgia Tech to encourage students to donate as well, resulting in a massive turnout. “At our Georgia Tech blood drive, the Red Cross collected over 500 pints of blood, more than they had collected in over a decade at the school, and that’s just at one location,” said Haskins. In addition, The CW and the American Red Cross produced a PSA that promoted the need for blood donations and featured the cast of the new show. The PSA airs on Alloy Media + Marketing’s proprietary media platforms, including the TV video network and the school-based news program, Channel One News. O


Following the introduction of “Entourage Air” with Virgin America, HBO took the branding stunt to the next step, this time partnering with the W South Beach Hotel for an Entourage Bungalow as a promotion for guests. The three-level bungalow was inspired by the characters’ Hollywood lifestyle and featured a ping-pong table, PS3 with the latest games, a personal driver, an afternoon of boating along the coast with a dedicated crew, a personal poolside cabana and jet skis, dinner for four at Soleà as well as goodies from Grey Goose Vodka and Heineken. The bungalow cost $5,000 per night with a two night minimum. “Events bring the brand off-screen and into consumers’ environment,” said Stuart Ruderfer, Co-CEO of Civic Entertainment Group, which worked with HBO to create the promotion. “An interaction that lets people touch the brand has more impact and is remembered longer than any traditional promo.” In addition, at the other 30 W Hotels in North America, guests were able to book a special “Entourage Package” during the summer, which included an instant upgrade with a bottle of champagne and an Entourage DVD set. The promotion, launched in anticipation of season six of the show, was also marketed at the hotels and on company parent’s Starwood Hotels website. Throughout the promotion, all guests were also given access to a complimentary “Entourage” channel that includes episodes from seasons four and five, in addition to behind the scenes clips from season six. The launch event was held poolside there last week and attended by “Entourage” star Adrian Grenier (“Vincent Chase”) as well as fellow cast members and other VIPs. The result saw national media attention on mainstream outlets across the country. O

With CBS Television Distribution’s syndicated series “The Doctors” successfully entering its second season on the airwaves, company executives made separate guerrilla moves in the country’s top two markets to firm up ratings for the show. In Los Angeles, the show became a sponsor of the Charlie Saikley Volleyball Tournament in Manhattan Beach, held the first weekend of August and one of the country’s largest amateur tournaments for the sport. Not only did all of the hosts of the daytime strip participate in the games, but cast and crew passed out supplies such as Band-Aids, hand sanitizer and water, provided a Sunscreen Mist booth for the 30,000 plus attendees for the event and wrapped the nearby garbage bins. “This was an off-key way to reach out to viewers who were often home during the day, such as college kids and actors,” said Michael Mischler, EVP of Marketing at CBS Television Distribution. “We wanted to push tune-in in the market, and this was a terrific way to push the show as well as grow the brand locally.” In New York, the company took on high visibility by incorporating the show on the NASDAQ sign in Times Square, a staple of the country’s top market. “We created a mammoth visual display that is showcased on the entire south side of Times Square,” said Mischler. “It’s a great way for the show to increase its presence and visibility in the New York market, and it will maintain an ongoing presence for the show as we get into the new season.” O







In a move to get tongues wagging for the launch of Eden, a natural history channel in the UK that debuted this year, as well as drum up awareness of environmental impact, the channel created a floating sculpture of an iceberg and a stranded polar bear that was set into the River Thames in January. The sculpture measured 16 by 20 feet, and it took a team of 15 artists two months to construct the new marketing tool. The team subsequently launched it in Greenwich, South East London at 6:30 a.m. before traveling up the Thames to stop beside Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament for a press event. The structure weighed 1.5 tons and was winched into place in freezing temperatures, before traveling 7.5 miles along the Thames. The result quickly grabbed worldwide media attention. “Our pictures were seen by over 260 million people worldwide, and, following the stunt, Web traffic to Eden’s site tripled overnight and viewing figures were up 130 percent on average,” said Peter Mountstevens, managing partner at Taylor Herring Public Relations, which Eden hired to orchestrate the event. “In launch week, the channel rose from tenth in the factual multi-channel rank to joint fourth in multichannel homes and joint third in Pay TV homes. We later toured the sculpture around the UK before donating it to Edinburgh Zoo, home of the UK’s only captive polar bear. We estimate the fully-branded sculpture will be seen by more than one million people in the year ahead giving the stunt legs far beyond a simple photo-call.” O

After showcasing the casts of “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance” around the country, Fox found a new target with the launch of “Glee.” Over the summer, eight members of the “Glee” cast traveled the country on “The Gleek Tour” to meet fans, sign autographs and give a sneak peek of the new fall comedy. After partnering with Hot Topic for the event, Fox executives quickly found themselves with thousands of fans awaiting the opportunity to engage with the show, while local media outlets swarmed to give coverage. “The crowds in each city seem to get larger and larger,” said Joe Earley, Fox’s EVP marketing and communications. “Every city was successful, and we saw fans tweeting about it, the press was covering it and we were able to generate positive word-ofmouth throughout the experience.” “Glee” actors Cory Monteith, Lea Michele, Amber Riley, Chris Colfer, Jenna Ushkowitz, Kevin McHale, Dianna Agron and Mark Salling took part on the tour, which made 10 stops in two weeks at Hot Topic stores in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, Houston, Dallas, Denver and Washington. Earley noted that he worked with local affiliates in each of the markets to promote the coming event and had to target a specific audience that was not only Fox’s target audience, but also an audience that would be able to attend over the summer months. “‘Glee’ has multi-generational appeal, and we wanted to make an experience that the parent and child can watch together,” said Earley. “With ‘Glee,’ ‘Idol’ and ‘Dance,’ a teen can be cool to watch it, and a parent can be cool to watch it. By exposing the experiences to as many people as possible, they will then become ambassadors for the shows.” O

To create an immediate buzz for their upcoming “Dante’s Inferno” video game, a re-imagining of the first chapter of the “Divine Comedy,” Electronic Arts went back to the source. “While most have heard of the poem, fewer have actually read the classic,” said Phil Marineau, product marketing manager for EA. “So, EA decided to provide a ninemonth tutorial in the lead-up to the game launch: nine months of hell, limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud and treachery. Each month with its own interesting way of telling the story of the game and its famous inspiration.” The campaign kicked off at the annual E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles, where many games are premiered. Working with agency Wieden & Kennedy, EA decided to stage a fake religious protest of the game. They started a website, www., for the fictional protesters, dubbed Salvationists Against Virtual and Eternal Damnation, and placed them outside the E3 convention with subtlety branded EA posters with slogans ranging from “My High Score is in Heaven” to “Trade in your PlayStation for a Praystation.” They also handed out leaflets detailing the game’s offenses. Not only did the fake protest spark interest with the convention attendees, but national press outlets picked up the story, reporting the protest as real. Days later, reports that it had all been staged began to surface, and then the real protests began, as religious groups objected to their views being dramatized for a publicity stunt. “Some were offended, and others found the debate interesting,” said Marineau. “But lines filled the EA booth to see the game. Dante’s Inferno was one of the most talked about games at the show; in fact, the game was the number two biggest ‘Buzz Mover’ by Gamespot Traxx metrics.” What’s next for the controversial campaign? Marineau said the next phase of the marketing plan, “Greed,” will debut this fall. O FALL 2009 | 49

Picture Tube


Clockwise from top left: Amar Deb speaks at PromaxBDA India; PromaxBDA North America attendees James Perry and Rod Kornegay with Mr. Met; attendees at a screening of “Art&Copy;” PromaxBDA North America Creative Keynote Ralph Steadman smashes his iPhone; PromaxBDA Promotion and Marketing Award winner Marshall Hites; Brand Builder Award winners Dana White and Susan Kantor; PromaxBDA Marketing and Promotion Awards Show Host Bob Saget; Markus Schmidt and Veronica Davidson at a client/vendor Speed Dating event; conference attendees line up at the registration booth.


Clockwise from top left: PromaxBDA Design Award winners Francois Clemenceau and Juan Carlos Vasquez; PromaxBDA conference attendees examine the Favorite Color interactive video wall; Bruce Dunlop and Nikki Bentley at the PromaxBDA International Reception; PromaxBDA India attendees Chris Turner and Tom Conner; the Isis Award; Tom Kelley speaks at The Conference; Anita LaFontaine accepts the Don LaFontaine Award on behalf of her late husband; “Art&Copy� director Doug Pray; Lifetime Achievement Award winner Robert Redford; PromaxBDA Design Award Show attendees make a toast.



Smith McAvoy



Andre Boyd to marketing director WPGX, Panama City, Fla. from internet sales and special projects manager at WKCF in Orlando. Jason Boyer to writer/producer creative services WOIO Cleveland from freelance marketing producer. Mark Bradley to creative services director at WMTW, Portland, Maine from creative services director, WCBD, Charleston, S.C. Tito Burga to art director, KLAS, Las Vegas from freelance work in Madrid, Spain. Andrew Caliendo to promotion director at KVOA, Tuscon from writer producer KPHO Phoenix. Jim Corboy to VP marketing, at WBBM/ CBS Chicago. William Craig to assistant creative services director, WFTS in Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. form writer/producer WGN, Chicago. Matthew Damore to creative services director at KGPE in Fresno, Calif. from creative services director at KSEE, Fresno. Grant Fenster to topical writer producer at WKOW, Madison, Wis. from news producer, WKOW. Paul Gaulke to creative services director, KSTP, Minneapolis-St. Paul, from director of marketing, Media General Broadcast Group, Richmond, Va. Molly Kelly promoted to station manager for WCIU, WWME and WMEU, Chicago, from director of marketing and promotions. Phil Kraft to writer/producer, KTVT Dallas-Ft. Worth, from sr. writer producer creative services, WFTV, Orlando, Fla. Sean McBride to creative services director at KBCI, Boise, Idaho from promotion director, KAVU Victoria, Texas. Dom Nardo to creative services director at WCPO in Cincinnati, Ohio from KYW TV, Philadelphia. Steve Simpson to news marketing director at KUTV, Salt Lake City, from owner, Simpson Productions. Don Smith to promotion manager, KOVR Sacramento, Calif. from creative services director, KTVX Salt Lake City, Utah.


hirings, promotions, personnel announcements



Coming in brief Winter 2010 Animation Houses Which companies are transforming the art form and what technologies are helping them do it? We examine the state of the industry. The Simpsons 20th Anniversary For two decades, Homer, Krusty and the crew have created a worldwide branding and licensing phenomenon. We’ll take a look at the molding of the series and how executives and producers crafted a global hit. Kid’s Marketing 2010 The rise of multi-platforms experts under the age of 10 has brought about new ways to engage a new era of fans. We explore the tricks to marketing to media-savvy adolescents.


Kelly Bumann to SVP, consumer marketing for Starz Entertainment. Kiera Hynninen to EVP of marketing for National Geographic Channel. Rob Jacobson to SVP marketing for Discovery Communications’ Planet Green Channel from SVP/executive creative director for Lifetime. Lauren Melone to VP of public relations for Madison Square Garden from VP of PR at Playboy Enterprises. Dawn Rodney to SVP of strategic marketing and partnership marketing for National Geographic Channel. Susanne Smith McAvoy to SVP of marketing for the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel.




Russell Arons to SVP worldwide marketing at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment from marketing director, Electronic Arts. Matt Bonin to SVP, director of integrated production for Trailer Park. Curt Doty to EVP of the newly created “Advanced Content” Group, a combination of the company’s Blu Ray and DVD business sectors, for Trailer Park. Marc Lucas to executive creative director at Razorfish from group creative director. Steven Melnick, marketing SVP Twentieth Century Fox TV, given responsibility for 20th’s new-media initiatives. Mark Pearson, SVP brand management and strategy Twentieth Century Fox TV, given responsibility for marketing and research. Julie Supan to VP of marketing at social network Ning from director of marketing, YouTube.


Ivy Dane to executive producer New York ’s COLLECTIVE. Laura Relovsky to executive producer at Fluid.

In Memoriam

Jeffrey Sears, VP of creative services at DIY Network, died June 28 in Knoxville, Tenn., of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. A 12-year Scripps Networks veteran, Sears worked on the promotions team at HGTV before assuming his position at DIY Network. O —As an experienced creative director, producer and writer, Kate Bacon serves as owner of Well Dunne! Talent and is a weekly contributor to Broadcasting & Cable. She’s also the author of the only blog on entertainment marketing at

Op Ed


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BY MIKE WALSH There has always been something alluring about the myth of the creative advertising genius. A “Mad Man” style maven sitting in a palatial corner office, twirling a pencil and then devising a diabolical way to sell more cigarettes, cars or potato chips. But the new media landscape has made a mockery of that. It used to be enough to make ads that people remembered when they watched them. Now, being a great creative means being smart enough to ensure people watch them at all. Early this year, I spoke at a PromaxBDA event in Czechoslovakia. Prague is a beautiful city. Look outside your window and you will be rewarded with an exquisite gothic skyline marred only by a single building — the Žižkov TV tower. When I asked about it, I was told that the Soviets thought that if they beamed out a strong enough TV signal, they could blanket out any competing programming from Western countries. It was a cunning plan and quite possible in a world where television had a monopoly on moving pictures and sound in households. For the last 50 years or so, you could literally buy people’s attention. Now, it’s not so easy.


On the Internet, there is no concept of prime time. You can program television, but when online people discover and consume content, it is often because it has been sent to them by other people they know. Whether a tweet on Twitter, a blog post on Wordpress or a shared link on Facebook, the most influential distribution assets now are not broadcast networks but rather audience networks. Consider the recent transformation of the social media space. Social networks have evolved from an orgy of self-expression to brand communication channels and tools of political influence. The new prize is realtime search. Traditional search is great for finding non-time-sensitive material, but if you want to know what people are saying and thinking right now about your brand, TV show or anything else, you need to be able to dip into the live stream of social chatter and link sharing. From a creative perspective, real-time search creates a unique challenge. Stunning art direction is useless if no one actually watches your ad. In a world of audience networks, people will only forward your content to their friends and followers if it makes them look smarter or cooler by doing

so. Their brand, not yours is at stake. You would be surprised how few marketers take that into account and are left wondering when their viral campaigns are socially vaccinated before they get off the ground. Funnily enough, one of the best examples of smart social creativity came from the other side of the world. In far North Australia, Tourism Queensland’s “Best Job in the World” campaign took three Grand Prix awards at the Cannes advertising awards this year. The campaign, which was ostensibly just promoting a caretaker job on Hamilton Island, generated more than AU$332 million in media coverage, 34,684 video entries from 197 countries and eight million site visits with an average of eight minutes and 15 seconds spent on the site per visitor. What made the campaign so effectively viral was not how it looked or where the ads were placed, but rather the power of its core idea. After all, who wouldn’t want to get paid to hang out on a desert island? Great ideas are social candy to consumer networks. Social media doesn’t mean the death of TV advertising, but it does place it into context. Broadcast is a powerful medium for rapidly raising awareness, but the reality of media fragmentation means that to get real engagement requires your customers to do the distribution for you. And that, quite frankly, is not easy. The trick of turning audiences into advocates requires more than just savvy media planning or bribing people with free iPods. It takes true creative genius. O

Mike Walsh is the author of “Futuretainment” and a keynote speaker on consumer innovation. For more information visit or follow Mike on Twitter (@mikewalsh).

print. interactive. broadcast.

creative agency of record for PromaxBDA.

Brief Fall 2009  

Served as editorial manager.