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THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MEDIA MARKETING, PROMOTION AND DESIGN

SPRING 2011

SPRING 2011


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contents

Brief

SPRING 2 011

UPfront A Gilded Eve p. 6

6

Watch Dog

8

Creative Brief

12

News and Events

14

News Brief in focUs

Color Machine p. 22

Art of Falling p. 26

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Brand/Rebrand

18

Spot Watch

20

Media Innovations

22

Brief Encounters

26

Design/Dissect

30

Executive Summary sPeciAL rePorts

Game On p. 34

34

Video Game Marketing

46

Entertainment Rebrands

56

Career Management LAst LooK

Tech Check p. 68

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Picture Tube

66

Shuffle

68

Viewpoint

ON THE COVER Design by Petrol Advertising www.petrolad.com


PromaxBDA staff PRESIDENT/CEO Jonathan Block-Verk GENERAL MANAGER Jill Lindeman CFO Randy Smith CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER Lucian Cojescu DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS Shawn Anderson EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Shanna Green DESIGNER Angelika Gartner

LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

As we are full swing into a new year saturated in anything and everything digital, it’s only fitting that we explore the impact digital has had on gaming, one of the fastest-growing segments of entertainment at our annual MI6 Game Marketing Conference. With this issue’s guest editor and president of EA SPORTS, Peter Moore, speaking about the impact of digital on gamers’ consumption habits, and Microsoft’s GM and creative director of Kinect, Kudo Tsunoda, delivering the conference keynote, it’s sure to be a momentous event. Much like the digital world itself, our association is moving at lightning speed. This month, I had the privilege of attending the kick-off of the PromaxBDA Promo Pathway Mentorship Program at Santa Monica College, a very exciting event for the future of our industry. As part of the Promo Pathway initiative, the mentorship program pairs 25 creative, diverse, high-risk youth with their own mentor — one of our industry professionals in on-air promotions — to help propel the students to success in the business themselves. The course is structured around setting and achieving goals, developing creative leadership strategies and facilitating career development. At PromaxBDA, we believe fostering talent in the media and entertainment marketing industry is a strategic priority for PromaxBDA and its members. Oftentimes, the mentors in our lives help us become the gamechanger, the creative leader, the innovator or the top executive. Looking ahead, June is chartered to be a full month here at PromaxBDA. We are excited to launch the inaugural PromaxBDA Station Summit, June 8-9 in Las Vegas. We are expecting GMs, marketing, promo and creative executives from approximately 350 different stations to attend this flagship event specifically focused on the issues, trends and emerging business opportunities affecting success in the local broadcast business. The two-day event will include a full day of one-on-one meetings of syndicators, studios and their station partners with a following day packed with sessions, speakers and presentations about innovations, excellence and creativity in media marketing. This will culminate with the first-ever PromaxBDALocal Awards. There is also another little event happening for us in June. Perhaps you have heard of it: The Conference. This year, the PromaxBDA Conference heads back to the Hilton New York, June 28-30. And, yes, the rumors are true. Just in case you haven’t heard, we are thrilled to announce former Vice President Al Gore as this year’s keynote speaker. Regardless of where you stand politically, there is no denying the social, cultural and creative impact the former Vice President’s agenda has had on the world of television and on the global community as a whole. Viva Las Vegas, and see you in the Big Apple! Cheers, Jonathan Block-Verk President/CEO

EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Andrea Kennedy EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Jennifer Konerman EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND PARTNERSHIPS Corey Weiss DIRECTOR, SALES AND BUSINESS INTEGRATION Laura Coones PRODUCTION AND LOGISTICS DIRECTOR Genevieve Gragnano PROJECT MANAGER Kristen Yanow DIRECTOR OF INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT AND DIVERSITY Katerina Zacharia MANAGER OF MEMBER SERVICES Anush Payaslyan CIRCULATION MANAGER AND RE-VERIFICATION COORDINATOR Eileen Rasnake AWARDS DIRECTOR Stacy La Cotera ASSISTANT AWARDS MANAGER Christina Martinez AWARDS COORDINATOR Meg Wynne ACCOUNTANT Wolfgang Thiele EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT AND OFFICE MANAGER Jessica Henning EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE GENERAL MANAGER Anna Lyn Arboleda CREATIVE AGENCY OF RECORD bpg www.bpgadvertising.com 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.


They pledge allegiance to each other.

Š2011 Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC. All rights reserved.


sPrinG 2 011 Volume 3, Issue 2 EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER Jonathan Block-Verk GENERAL MANAGER Jill Lindeman MANAGING EDITOR Shanna Green CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Rae Ann Fera GUEST EDITOR Peter Moore DESIGNER Angelika Gartner

LETTER FROM THE GUEST EDITOR

The last decade has been defined by unprecedented innovation in consumer electronics and entertainment. Ten years ago, we were buying music on CDs and renting movies on DVDs at retail stores, playing single-player games on standard-definition consoles, and actually using our mobile phones as just, well, phones! Now, the mass commercialization of digital downloads means anyone, anywhere, anytime can listen to or watch anything they like. The stand-alone game system has given way to Internetconnected, HD consoles. And smartphones and tablets, our inseparable daily companions, have changed the way we consume music, movies AND games as much as they have how we communicate.

ASSISTANT EDITOR Andrea Kennedy EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Jennifer Konerman CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Justin Amirkhani, Kate Bacon, Kevin Ritchie, Daisy Whitney EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND PARTNERSHIPS Corey Weiss

What’s the common thread? The ubiquity of broadband and the power the Web provides us to deliver dynamic, innovative content in exceedingly efficient, even if not always simple, ways. After all, it’s no easy task to deliver content as complex as today’s entertainment, but when you get it right, a massive audience is just a click or finger flick away.

DIRECTOR, SALES AND BUSINESS INTEGRATION Laura Coones

Innovation and change have been good to us in the video game industry. The range of choices out there today really validates what those of us in this business have believed all along – that every consumer, no matter where you are, what you like or how you play, could be a gamer. The numbers bear that out: There are now some 600 million Facebook users, and they’re all potential players; there were nearly 8 billion mobile applications downloaded last year; and we saw more than 1 billion online-connected game sessions of EA SPORTS games played in the last year.

MAGAZINE DESIGN

Those numbers show us not merely the breadth of our opportunity, but also the scale of our challenge as marketers. As digitization continues its wholesale change of how we consume content and entertainment, it also turns the old marketing models and channels on their heads – and gaming has quickly emerged as being at the forefront of innovation and experimentation. Strap in, because in this issue we’re going to immerse you in the fast-paced world of interactive entertainment. We’ll show you the ropes of video game marketing and how, as video game publishers, we’re exploring new business models designed to make games more accessible to consumers, whenever and wherever they want to play. We’ll also explore change in other aspects of our industry, including a look at the major challenges faced when rebranding entertainment properties as well as share advice from some of the top names in career advisory in our career management special report. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in this business – not in spite of the pace of change, but because of it. Peter Moore President EA SPORTS

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Jessica Henning

bpg www.bpgadvertising.com

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: anush@promaxbda.org. Brief 1522e Cloverfield Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90404-5567 (310) 788-7600 www.promaxbda.org


Was it good for you?

GET YOURS WEDNESDAY APR 13 9:30|8:30c Sneak peek at abc.com/HappyEndings


WATCH DoG upFRonT

Army Wives Network: Lifetime Date: March 6, 2 011 Viewers: 4.2 Key to Success: Family ties

Oscars Network: ABC Date: February 27, 2 011 Viewers: 37.6 Key to Success: All-access pass

Marketing the fifth season of a show can be challenging. Marketing the fifth season without flashy digital tie-ins or an iPad app can be even harder. But that’s how Lifetime chose to handle promotion for the season five premiere of Army Wives. With a simple and stark print ad campaign and two main television trailers, Lifetime approached the marketing by letting the main characters’ strong female bond take center stage. When preparing for the campaign, Lifetime’s creative director JAS Sustrich and his team talked to real military families who said they truly rely on each other for support. This bond became the focus of the on-air campaign and the inspiration for the tagline: “They pledge allegiance to each other.”

With two high-profile hosts, live streaming of the event and an app with camera feeds, it is easy to see the Oscars tried something new this year. The tagline, “You’re Invited,” engaged the Oscars audience in a new way, while video streaming and the app offered backstage access and an all-encompassing feel.

Further enhancing the show’s emphasis on family bonds, Lifetime also drove a donation effort with Blue Star Families, a non-profit organization that supports military families. For every fan’s Facebook post or tweet mentioning the show, Lifetime donated a dollar to Blue Star. On-air spots also teased out season four’s dramatic cliffhanger fi nale to entice new views to tune in and see what they were missing. “I think we really hung our hat on the cliffhanger of the season, the drama behind the show and the passion that’s already built in,” said Tim Nolan, SVP of marketing and brand strategy at Lifetime. “So we didn’t really need to do anything highly conceptual or stunty, especially with the on-air campaign because the footage and what happens this season is just so powerful.” ■

—Jennifer Konerman

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“It’s ‘You’re Invited,’ so that people feel that they can become a participant in the actual event,” said Marla Provencio, EVP of marketing, ABC Entertainment Group. “They’re there; they’re engaged; they’re in the moment.” As part of ABC’s multiplatform experience, the Oscar All Access app allowed viewers access to pieces of the show usually reserved behind the velvet ropes. Users could control the app’s live 360-degree cameras to see red carpet arrivals, backstage scenes and streaming of the show itself. The Oscar.com website was also revamped and included two new Oscar-based web series. Also new to the show this year were on-air promos featuring the hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, training for the big day. These spots, along with the many ways viewers could get involved made the event a “you’ve got to be there” night on television, according to Provencio. “We really wanted them to feel that they are invited to one of the biggest events on television, so they are as important as the person who’s walking down the red carpet,” Provencio said. ■ —Jennifer Konerman


DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

Super Bowl XLV Network: Fox Date: February 6, 2 011 Viewers: 46.0 Key to Success: Long-term strategy When the Packers met the Steelers for this year’s pigskin showdown, the Super Bowl stars aligned for ratings greatness. The matchup didn’t only end in victory for the Packers; its record-breaking ratings also brought TV history to Fox. Robert Gottlieb, SVP and group creative director for Fox Sports Marketing Group, suggested that the prime programming platter served to the network this year made ratings success inevitable. Confident the big game would draw big numbers, Fox’s campaign maximized the opportunity for networkcentric branding and kicked off cross-promoted Super Bowl messaging even before football season began. “In our marketing, we started talking about the Super Bowl from the first play of the season,” Gottlieb said. “In the past, we had not done that. We had kind of waited and gotten close to the game and done some marketing around the pre-game show. This year was different in that throughout the season we made all our marketing around the Super Bowl even though [it] was months away.” To promote Fox as the home of Super Bowl XLV early in the football season, Fox Sports’ in-house marketing group created the “It’s Good to Have a Ring” campaign. The series of comedic on-air spots for NFL on Fox featured Fox commentator talent like Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Buck and even Fox-syndicated Dr. Phil showing how the world opens up for people who have Super Bowl rings as opposed to those who don’t. In a fi nal marketing push, Fox also leveraged the pregame programming to spread the Super Bowl message, specifi cally Bill O’Reilly’s interview with President Obama, which the network cross-promoted on Fox News Channel during segments of The O’Reilly Factor. “Typically, we would have a very limited amount of interaction with [Fox News Channel],” Gottlieb said, “but because it was O’Reilly and Obama, they really jumped in and promoted the pregame show in that segment tremendously.” ■

—Andrea Kennedy

The Grammy Awards Network: CBS Date: February 13, 2 011 Viewers: 26.7 Platform: Online and mobile Key to Success: Authentic messaging Compelling, emotional, vital… music is a transcendent force that binds humanity. For an awards show celebrating the art, The Recording Academy knew only personal, meaningful, authentic messaging would generate the dynamic viewer engagement critical to ratings success. The Grammys’ digital campaign, “Music is Life is Music,” led by the CMO of The Recording Academy, Evan Greene, cast such an artful digital net, the Grammys enjoyed their highest broadcast ratings in 11 years. The Recording Studio partnered with TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles to release MusicIsLifeIsMusic. com, a digital platform for the custom-created app MusicMapper. The interactive app allowed music-lovers to digitally pin a location on a world map, then tag that location with a song meaningful to them. “We used [the MusicMapper] as a tool to extend the reach of our campaign,” Greene explained. “It turns all of our mobile devices into a mobile messaging opportunity to remind people that the Grammys are coming and turns a traditional a traditionally passive marketing message of ‘watch this show’ into an interactive call to action that allows people to become involved and engaged.” Once users’ maps were completed, they could share and compare music memories with members of their social network. “The idea,” Greene said, “is that music binds us and aligns us all, and everybody has a musical journey that culminates with the Grammy Awards.” Grammy.com and YouTube also promoted and aired GRAMMY Live, a 72-hour video streaming event showcasing behind-the-scenes action three days prior to the event, culminating with backstage footage, which promoted a two-screen experience.

—Andrea Kennedy

SPRING 2011

“There’s a difference between a promotional message and an organic way to engage with the digital community,” Greene said. “We want people to watch the Grammys not because of a promotional message, but because they care more deeply about the Grammys as being part of society and culture.” ■

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CREATIVE BRIEF

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BRIEF

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Jill Greenberg Uses Light, Emotion and a Little Photoshop to Make Marketing Magic By Shanna Green If you’ve picked up a magazine or glanced at a TV show poster anytime in the last few years, you’ve seen Jill Greenberg’s work. Even if you don’t immediately recognize her name, with her oft-used grey-blue backgrounds and distinctive ethereal backlighting, Greenberg’s celebrity portraits are unmistakable. Greenberg who counts NBC, Fox, GSN and Lifetime among her many TV network clients, is highly praised in the business for what Steph Sebbag, creative director of Los Angeles creative agency bpg, says is her spearheading of a new style in photography. “Like LaChapelle and Avedon, Jill has pioneered a new style of photography, and her impact can be seen throughout the entertainment industry,” said Sebbag, who was worked with Greenberg on of key art campaigns including Lifetime’s One Born Every Minute. Adam Stotsky, president of NBC Entertainment Marketing, has hired Greenberg a number of times because as he says “Jill has such a distinct and innovative aesthetic. Her photography pulls provocative personalities from our talent that allows us to create very impactful key art. Given how innovative Jill’s signature style is, it’s no wonder we are seeing many other photographers follow her lead.” Shanna Green recently spoke with Greenberg to discuss photography, workaholics and how she may helped President Obama win the 2008 election.

C

SPRING 2011

On your website, you’ve termed yourself “The Manipulator.” Where does that name come from? I was an early adopter of digital imaging. I have been doing Photoshop since 1.0 in 1990. I also used to do other kinds of manipulations like slide projections and old school painting on prints. I thought it was a fun name because there is this German Culture magazine called, The Manipulator. I used to read it when I was in high school. I sort of stole their name for my own website, and it stuck. Every so often, I wonder if I am too old to call myself “The Manipulator.” But it is still a brand, and it still sort of works. At the same time I think people assume that a lot of my stuff is done in post, maybe because of the name. It’s really not. It basically looks just like that; I really try for the lighting to be perfect in camera. And then I just sort of add flourishes, like adding the icing on the cake in post.

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CREATIVE BRIEF

“You have to be a workaholic... and it’s going to be hard to balance the rest of your life.” How you would describe your photography style? I come from a background where I really love graphic design, and I want everything to line up. Not that I want just everyone to line up; I want emotion; I want color; I want the lighting to be perfect, and I want angles and everything to gel perfectly. Not every single picture is like that, but when you do get the best picture out of a shoot and everything is totally working, then it is just sort of singing. I try to take the actual image to another level. I have been into photography for my whole life, so I am a perfectionist.

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What does your brand stand for? I do not think of myself as a straight photographer, hence the name, “The Manipulator.” I just try to bring some fun and energy into the image. I try to keep it fresh. I think people can tell that I have a background in drawing and painting. They can tell that I have a lot of ideas. You’ve experienced some high-profile controversies with your Crying Children series (Greenberg was publicly criticized for taking candy away from some of the young subjects to make them cry for the portraits) and John McCain images (Greenberg posted digitally altered images of the Republican presidential candidate on her site after photographing him for The Atlantic). Do you think those controversies hurt or help your brand? When controversy creates a lot of press it can be good, but it can be bad too. The crying kids thing came and went. With McCain, I think I sort of forgot there are actually Republican people working in the entertainment or advertising world. I think people took it the wrong way, but a lot of clients loved it. They credit me with Obama winning. Whatever works. With all of these political cartoons out there, why aren’t I allowed to make a political cartoon as well? People rip off my images all the time for their own political agenda. They steal my Crying Children all over. In my mind, it was like the artist Jill Greenberg was appropriating the photographer Jill Greenberg’s work. I didn’t expect the reaction. I didn’t fully sit back and consider the possible ramifications of my actions. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, especially in a recession. But it is all fine now. What makes a strong brand? Consistency of vision. For a photographer it’s a fine vision really, even if there are different variations on the vision. Sometimes people think that [Crying Children] look is all I do, and I have to sort of fight against that. I don’t want to only do that. I like doing black and white pictures on location. I look doing different kinds of things. But I do think that having a point of view in the image.

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What’s the best piece of advice you would offer someone who wants to work for entertainment promotion? You have to be a workaholic. You have to work all the time, and it’s going to be hard to balance the rest of your life. I hear that from a lot of people actually in entertainment marketing. It is just really all encompassing. But we all love what we do, so that’s the tradeoff. ■

From top: Key art for Animal Planet, Lifetime and Syfy


on GSN

NEW ORIGINAL SERIES

THE LAUGHS BEGIN MONDAY APRIL 11

WEEKNIGHTS 8 and 11PM


nEWS & EVEnTS

AL GORE TO KEYNOTE THE CONFERENCE

PROMO PATHWAY KICKS OFF MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

One of the goals of PromaxBDA is to unite the global media marketing industry on the grounds of innovation, best practices and exceeding professional goals. The one event each year where that is possible is at PromaxBDA: The Conference.

Last month, the seeds of innovation, creativity and diversity in the media marketing industry took root. Inside the Academy of Entertainment & Technology, home to the Design Technology Department of Santa Monica College, PromaxBDA Promo Pathway students and their mentors shook hands for the first time.

In line with its Fast. Forward. tagline, this year’s event is set to top all the rest with the most insightful, pioneering list of speakers yet including KISS front man, Gene Simmons, Motionographer’s Justin Cone, branding and marketing guru Cindy Gallop and Dentsu Network West COO John Partilla. In addition to the media all-star lineup, the Conference was proud to announce earlier this month they keynote speaker, former US Vice President and Chairman and CoFounder of Current Media, Al Gore.

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“Al Gore is one of the most influential media leaders today, and Current TV has been one of the most progressive networks this country has seen,” said PromaxBDA president and CEO Jonathan Block-Verk. Another topper to this year’s conference is the honoring of American film director, producer, writer and actor, Spike Lee with the PromaxBDA Lifetime Achievement Award. Lee has lended his creative ingenuity to the entertainment industry for decades, and PromaxBDA is proud to recognize his achievements by awarding this visionary in the company of our members. Make sure to frequent the PromaxBDA website to see the latest speakers added to the media all-star lineup, watch the two-minute takeaways from last year’s conference and, of course, register. ■

The launch kicked off a nine-month training period wherein 25 high-risk students in Los Angeles, who were awarded full scholarships to the PromaxBDA Promo Pathway Program will undergo education and professional development through their mentorships to streamline their entry into the on-air promotions industry. The event included lunch and training for the students’ mentors, creative and marketing professionals working in on-air promotions, before the young talent stepped in to meet their mentor match. The mentorship initiative is part of the PromaxBDA’s Promo Pathway Program, which in partnership with Santa Monica College and the South Bay Counseling Center, is an accredited training program preparing creative high-risk youth, ages 18-24, for the exciting world of television promotions. “Entertainment Marketing is more competitive than ever. It’s so exciting to have a program like PromaxBDA’s Promo Pathway that will identify, recruit and develop the next generation of talented promo professionals and give them hands on training like no other program in the country,” said Bear Fisher, SVP creative director on-air promotion and design for E! Entertainment Networks. The PromaxBDA Promo Pathway Program is anchored in the PromaxBDA Diversity Council, an initiative launched in early 2010 to develop a sustainable pipeline of diverse talent into the entertainment marketing industry. ■

Al Gore

PROMO BOOTCAMP RETURNS FOR SECOND YEAR After seeing it’s successful debut during last year’s annual conference, PromaxBDA is excited to bring the Promo Bootcamp workshop back for a sophomore year, June 28-30, as a companion event to the PromaxBDA The Conference: 2011 held in New York. PromaxBDA’s Bootcamp 2011 is the only thorough professional development workshop focused on helping you develop and improve your technical and creative skills critical for success in the fast-paced world of television promotions.

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From June 28-30, professionals will be immersed in a handson workshop for conceptualizing, writing and editing television promotions in new and innovative ways.

Last year’s topics covered topics faced in daily promo production including: workflow, mechanics of promo structure, creative writing, power editing, directing voice talent, sound, music and licensing and fundamentals of design. This event targets promo producers, writers, editors and preditors of all experience levels, and will be taught by the industry’s most well-respected experts. Speakers from last year’s Bootcamp included: Trez Thomas, VP of brand strategy and creative director, Bravo Media; Lee Hunt, president and founder of Lee Hunt, LLC and Mark Valentine, president and creative director of Anatomy. PromaxBDA will be making this year’s speaker and session announcements in the coming months. ■


STATION SUMMIT SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED

COMING IN SUMMER 2011

In its inaugural year, PromaxBDA’s Station Summit is gearing up with what will be an intensive and insightful two-day event. This leadership conference will focus on issues surrounding networks, station groups, syndicators and local broadcasters and will provide an outlet to learn about trends and emerging business opportunities in the local market.

Brand Integration Marketing It’s a tale as old as Mad Men’s storylines, but integrating brands into entertainment properties has a long history for a reason — it works well. We review how TV marketers are utilizing these partnerships to revitalize the industry.

Speakers and sessions will center on technological and creative innovations that can be utilized in the local media landscape, and the two-day conference will be beneficial to local leaders in their media marketplaces. PromaxBDA is pleased to announce Summit speakers Terry Ward, founder and president of CommSkills Group, and Roy Spence, co-founder and chairman of GSD&M Idea City. In his position at CommSkills Group, a communication and presentation skills training organization, Ward brings with him more than 25 years of experience in communication skills training and will speak about changing the way people and businesses communicate in his session, “Life’s a Pitch... Mastering the Art of Presenting.” Along with his position at GSD&M Idea City, a leading marketing communications and advertising company, Spence is also the co-founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute, a consulting firm that helps people and organizations discover and live their purpose. His agency has helped grow some of the world’s most successful brands like Southwest Airlines, DreamWorks, the PGA TOUR and Hallmark. The Station Summit is a can’t-miss event, culminating in the PromaxBDALocal Awards, a brand new awards competition honoring the best in television branding, promotional campaigns, logo design and art direction. More speakers and sessions will be announced shortly, so check the PromaxBDA website for all of the details. ■

Lifetime Achievement Honoree: Spike Lee Director, producer, writer and actor are just a few of the roles Spike Lee has played in the film and televisions. This year’s PromaxBDA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient speaks with Brief on his career’s impact on the entertainment industry. Next-Gen Marketing Exec They’re young, they’re wired and pretty soon, they’re going to be doing the hiring. We look at the up-an-comers who are changing tomorrow’s industry today.

PROMAXBDA AND MI6 DATES AND DEADLINES APRIL 11-12, 2 011 PromaxBDA Europe Berlin, Germany MAY 12, 2 011 Student Design Awards Submission Deadline MAY 22, 2 011 PromaxBDA Arabia Dubai MAY 24-25, 2 011 PromaxBDA India Mumbai

JUNE 8-9, 2 011 Station Summit 2 011 Las Vegas, NV

JUNE 8, 2 011 Sports Media Marketing Awards Categories Announcement JUNE 21, 2 011 Sports Media Marketing Awards Open for Submissions JUNE 27, 2 011 Creative Educators Forum New York, NY JUNE 28-30, 2 011 The Conference 2 011 New York, NY JUNE 28-30, 2 011 Promo Bootcamp 2 011 New York, NY

Speakers from last year’s event Marilyn Kass and Linda Button

promaxbda.org

SPRING 2011

For more information, visit:

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nEWS BRIEF

BRANDS AUDITION CROWDSOURCING FOR DESIGN There’s a saying that you get what you pay for. So are brands and agencies getting schlocky work if they crowdsource their logos? There’s a divide in the design and creative business on this topic. Big brands are becoming keen on crowdsourcing logos and other creative work through sites like IdeaBounty.com and Crowdspring.com, while design shops are wary of the everyman approach. Maybe because they stand to lose the most if crowdsourcing design work takes off in a big way.

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“Crowdsourcing only produces mediocre work,” said Michael Waldron, president and creative director with design studio nailgun*. “There is a lot of back and forth and blood, sweat and tears in building a logo. A lot of people also say they can be a fashion designer and can pick great clothes at a store, but that doesn’t mean they can create an outfit design from scratch.” On the flip side, Crowdspring says it has produced results for some of its big name brand partners like Amazon, TiVo, ConAgra, Epic Records and Random House. A buyer usually receives more than 100 choices from creatives around the world, according to Crowdspring’s website. “Many of our designers are professional art directors and creatives from top agencies around the world. Some do it to supplement their incomes and build their portfolios while others enjoy the freedom of having their own schedule,” said Crowdspring co-founder Mike Samson. Still, others say crowdsourcing is a fad that will run its course quickly. “This trend will not be the YouTube or iTunes of the design world,” said Andy Hann, head creative at design shop BIGSMACK. “There is a very big difference from creating personal, independent art and creating a corporate brand. One is a private, self-satisfying effort, while the latter requires collaboration, compromise, business knowledge, and is usually much less fulfilling when you take the money out of the equation. I just don’t see it taking off, and I, for one, am not concerned. Just look at the previous trend of using user-generated videos for advertising.” ■ —Daisy Whitney

FACEBOOK FRIENDS WARNER BROS. AND MLB FOR VIDEO STREAMING Not content to be merely the online equivalent of the third-largest country in the world, Facebook now wants to compete with Netflix, Hulu and, yes, maybe even your cable service. The social media site, which now tops 500 million users, is offering access to Warner Bros. movies directly on its site and free, live viewing of Major League Baseball pre-season games. In the fi rst deal of its kind for the social network, Facebook users can rent The Dark Knight using $3 in Facebook credits. Other titles will follow, and, if successful, industry observers expect Facebook to sign up more studio partners.

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“Making our fi lms available through Facebook is a natural extension of our digital distribution efforts,” said Thomas Gewecke,


UK OKS TV PROGRAM PRODUCT PLACEMENT

YOUTUBE BUYS NEXT NEW NETWORKS

Product placement has long been a staple in US TV programming; now it’s permissible for the fi rst time in the UK. The country’s FCC equivalent, Ofcom, approved product placement in UK programming in late February, and already the fi rst product placement deal has appeared on TV with Nestlé’s home coffee system being featured on ITV’s daytime show This Morning.

Internet video giant YouTube made a splashy acquisition when it bought Next New Networks in March. Even at a reported price tag of less than $50 million, the purchase is YouTube’s first of this scope since it was acquired by Google back in 2007, and the deal underscores the need for the world’s biggest video-sharing site to serve up more quality content. Next New Networks is best known for the top-notch independent videos it has produced, such as “Barely Political” with Obama Girl and “Indy Mogul.”

This could be the first of many such product placement deals in the UK, opening the door to what has been a lucrative revenue stream for US networks. Nearly all US broadcast and cable networks with scripted and reality shows have brokered such deals, with CocaCola on American Idol and Ford in 24 as prominent examples. “We are currently talking to clients about a number of product placement opportunities, spanning a range of programs and channels,” said Gary Knight, branded entertainment and digital sales director for ITV. “The editorial integrity of our programming remains ITV’s priority, and any introduction of product placement will strictly adhere to Ofcom rules.” Product placement in the UK will likely be more regulated than in the US. For starters, Ofcom requires broadcasters to show a logo with the black-and-white letter “P” for three seconds to denote a program contains product placement. Broadcasters are also forbidden from running product placement for cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol and food products high in fat and salt. Finally, there must be “editorial justifi cation,” which means the product must be relevant to what the program is about and the content can’t be “distorted” to feature the products. Even with all the rules, there are plenty of brands, agencies and networks eager to tap into this new revenue opportunity, so expect more product placement in the UK. ■ —Daisy Whitney

Since its launch in 2007, its videos have been viewed more than 2 billion times, and in 2010, it surpassed the mark of 150 million views per month. Next New Networks also counts more than 2 million subscribers to its shows. The scrappy venturefunded startup has reached those milestones because of its emphasis on low-cost but high-quality production, effective social media strategies and audience development. Those skills are what attracted YouTube to Next New Networks. “The number of [YouTube] partners making over $1,000 a month is up 300% since the beginning of 2010, and we now have hundreds of partners making six figures a year. But frankly, ‘hundreds’ making a living on YouTube isn’t enough, and in 2011 we know we can and should do more to help our partners grow,” said Tom Pickett, director of global content operations at YouTube and YouTube Next, in a blog post announcing the deal. Industry analyst Will Richmond said the deal hearkens back to cable’s early roots when operators bought up cable networks to expand into the content business. “Next New Networks has come as close as anyone to cracking the code in creating content and developing and monetizing online video, and YouTube took notice primarily because a lot of traffic was built out on the YouTube platform,” Richmond said. “Now YouTube can drive those lessons to a wider audience of independent online creators.” ■ —Daisy Whitney

president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, in a statement. “It gives consumers a simple, convenient way to access and enjoy our fi lms through the world’s largest social network.” Facebook certainly has the footprint to turn its site into a hub for content, and by keeping users on its site longer, will give even more value to its ad partners.

“The deal potentially has big implications for the way video is consumed online, given Facebook’s massive user base,” said Matthew Garrahan, Los Angeles reporter for the Financial Times. “If The Dark Knight proves popular on Facebook, we should expect the company to strike deals with other studios. With DVD sales in apparently terminal decline, studios are keen to fi nd as many new revenue streams as possible.” Netflix and Hulu are sure to be watching; Facebook is the kind of player, given its sheer size and might, that can quickly strong-arm a big part of the streaming video business. ■ —Daisy Whitney

SPRING 2011

But for its MLB partnership, which offers free, live streaming of pre-season baseball games during the month of March, fans are directed to an MLB site to watch the games. The deal, in this case, is less about Facebook’s hosting of video content and more about the brand integration with the MLB. Representatives said the possibility of the agreement being extended to include

streaming of regular season games is still under discussion with the MLB.

15


BRAND/REBRAND

Disney Junior Launch disney.go.com | weareroyale.com

Creative: Royale Campaign led by: Ron Pomerantz, VP, creative director, Disney Channel and Disney Junior; Frank Keating, VP, marketing, Disney Channels Worldwide Target Audience: Kids, 2-7

IN FOCUS

Objective: Introduce Disney Junior as a point of entry into the franchise for preschoolers, appeal to parents and drive tune-in for the channel’s heritage programming. Steps Taken: Campaigns rolling out a new brand within the Disney mothership must be as recognizably and nostalgi-

cally Disney as a resounding “Hi Ho!” Pulling from Disney’s legacy of characters and whimsical imagination, Ron Pomerantz, VP, creative director, Disney Channel and Disney Junior, and Frank Keating, VP, marketing, Disney Channels Worldwide, led a three-phase campaign for the February daypart launch stateside, followed by the global rollout of full channels replacing Playhouse Disney in April. The image campaign ignited print, on-air and out-of-home messaging featuring multi-ethnic kids interacting with beloved Disney characters and drove a massive digital outreach among mommy bloggers, parenting websites and Facebook. The latter created direct messaging and interaction while producing a

viral network of brand ambassadors. The last phase, driving tune-in for Jake and the Never Land Pirates, saw a comprehensive on-air blast, plus messaging in grocery stores, malls, kids’ gyms, and, for the first time, to Latin American audiences with Univision and People en Español. Latin America will lead the Disney Junior global rollout, followed by the UK and more than a dozen additional international channels.

the only free-to-air, youth-centric music and entertainment option in the country, was primed for a serious coming of age. Creative director Dinko Lacic needed to roll out a matured, dynamic, viewer-expanding brand identity – and had only 12 weeks to do it. First, the triangle-based logo got an edgy makeover, receiving sharp corners as opposed to the old rounded ones. Then, with no time to endure the out-of-house pitch process, Lacic dedicated the first two weeks to producing from scratch a 60-page VIVA style guide covering every facet of the channel’s new brand identity, which he distributed to several production companies around the globe chosen to execute the show packages. To create VIVA’s image campaign, Lacic cast 15 characters

embodying the natural, free, exuberant, edgy spirit of the channel and embarked on a seven-day road trip through South Africa with a production crew. Cameras freely captured their raw emotion while they forged relationships, danced and celebrated their youth. Leading up to the network launch, the on-air campaign reached future viewers via major German TV stations and movie theaters, and an extensive print campaign spanned the country as well.

Lessons Learned: “I think early planning and having a rollout strategy with Ron’s team and my team and digital and media relations – it’s so important to getting this done,” Keating said. ■

VIVA Rebrand viva.tv | umeric.com | peppermelon.tv divisionparis.com | zeitguised.com zhestkov.com | patrickbecher.com mathematic.tv | mariolombardo.com

Creative: MTV Networks Germany GMBH, agency; Good Guys Entertainment; Bureau Lombardo, fonts and logos; Umeric; Division Paris; PepperMelon; Zeitguised; Maxim Zhestkov; Patrick Becher; Mathematic Campaign led by: Dinko Lacic, creative director Target audience: Young adults, 14-29 Objective: Expand the mostly female VIVA viewing audience to include male young adults as well. Steps taken: With MTV Germany recently moving to a pay-TV platform, the channel’s younger sister, VIVA, now

BRIEF 16

Lessons Learned: “I strongly believe in working with creative freedom,” Lacic said of the production companies who worked on the campaign. “It would be totally wrong to restrict them too much.” ■

—Andrea Kennedy


AND

THE E PIC 8 - PA RT T V MOV IE E V E NT CATCH THE ENCORE PRESENTATION STARTING SUNDAY APRIL 24 9PM ET/PT

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SPOT WATCH

Flip Book Pair of Kings

IN FOCUS

kanestudio.tv

With CG driving so many animation projects today, it’s refreshing to see some hand-drawn figures brought back to life, fittingly from the king of the original art form – Disney. Combining hundreds of pencil sketches with stop motion action to mimic a living, breathing flip book, this spot brings new meaning to the term “page turner.” Client: Disney XD; Production Company: Kane Studio; Artist: Serene Teh

NFL American Family

themill.com

By digitally altering clips from classic TV shows like Happy Days and current hits including Glee to include pro football paraphernalia, the NFL shows why they have the “Best Fans Ever” in this stand-out Super Bowl spot. Although some of the character/team pairings are questionable, (The Office’s Scranton underdogs would totally root for the Eagles, not the championship-contending Steelers), the warmth of nostalgia it evoked was right on point. Client: NFL; Agency: Grey New York; Production Company: The Mill; Director: Me and Bob; CCO: Tor Myhren; Creative Directors: Eric Segal, Lars Jorgensen, Ryan McKenna, Ben Smith; Executive Producers: Gloria Pitagorsky, Adam Isidore; Mix: Sound Lounge; Editorial/VFX: The Mill

BRIEF 18

Dead Island Trailer

axisanimation.com

Like any good horror flick, Dead Island’s trailer will drive the squeamish to view it through parted fingers, afraid to look, but afraid to miss a moment. It’s a symphony of gore as told in reverse where every step back in time unveils an increasingly alarming wave of blood and terror. Disturbing and at times difficult to watch, like the flesh-eating undead of the title’s island, it will get you in the end. Client: Techland and Deep Silver; Production Company: Axis; Director: Stuart Aitken; Executive Producer: Richard Scott; Producer: Andrew Pearce

MTV EXIT Planet Better

paranoidus.com

The animation of this PSA is impressive, but it’s the way color drives the narrative that sets it apart. As rich, cheerful gold tones transition into dark, murky greys, so too is our heroine’s life plunged into the nightmare of human trafficking. Set to a beautiful, heartbreaking track, it’s truly MTV at its best – using music to drive awareness for a social cause. Client: MTV Exit; Agency: Young & Rubicam New York; Production Company: Paranoid US; Director: Edouard Salier; Executive Creative Directors: Scott Vitrone, Ian Reichenthal; Creative Director: Menno Kluin; Executive Producers: Claude Letessier, Daron Hollowell; Music: Black Iris

—Shanna Green


©2011 AETN. All Rights Reserved.

NO GUTS. NO GATOR.

THURSDAYS 9/8c


MEDIA INNOVATIONS

Bluefin Labs Links Social Media Chatter to Broadcast Images in Real Time By Rae Ann Fera

At this year’s TED conference, MIT researcher and professor Deb Roy gave one of the event’s most moving talks – and one of the most surprising. He shared how for three years he filmed his family’s every waking movement with the hopes of trying to understand the process of how a child learns language and the influence social environments have on language acquisition.

IN FOCUS

In hyperspeed, the TED audience was invited to watch tricked-out home video of his infant son’s developmental road to speaking. If the touching moment when his son’s speech morphed from “gaga” to “water” caused more than a few eyes to well up, the visualization of that process, and the resulting technology that emerged, caused even more jaws to drop. In order to make sense of the more than 90,000 hours of home video footage, Roy, along with his Ph.D. student Michael Fleischman, created a program that through semantic analysis paired the occurrence of words with the locations where they were spoken in the home, creating a visual language landscape. The word “water” peaked in the kitchen; “bye bye” near the front door. The key insight, said Roy, is that “words are about what’s happening in the world when they’re used.” While Roy’s presentation was stunning from a simply academic perspective, the pair inadvertently created what’s been missing in the world of social media metrics – the ability to tie the thunderous chatter of online buzz to specific broadcast content. Now on leave from MIT, Roy and Fleischman have launched Bluefin Labs, which has developed an automated media analysis platform to break through what they call the semantic barrier – in the media context, the gap between social media and mass media – by mapping social media comments to television content in real time. So how does it work? Bluefin created computers that use the principles of language grounding to track linguistic trends and match it to specific television content. Ingested in real time from 30 broadcast and cable networks, the system captures every time someone comments about something that’s on TV. Machine learning algorithms continuously take in the meaning of new words, slang, acronyms and hashtags as they emerge.

BRIEF 20

“We know where every ad or show is airing, and we have various sources of metadata that tell us about the content, and all of that rolled together with closed-captioning and some semantic analysis allows us to know what’s on each of the 30 networks, moment by moment,” Roy said. “For every show and for every ad, we can characterize the content and make a set of predications about how a person would talk about this show.” Those predictions are then used to mine the real-time social media stream and link every comment driven by TV to its source. Currently in pilot stage with a number of clients representing advertisers, networks, operators and media agencies, the benefits for producers of any broadcast content are significant. “It’s essentially a focus group in the wild,” said Roy. “You can actually see what the content of the comments are, you can characterize them by their sentiment, by the gender of who’s talking... This is product feedback.” With the potential for such a necessary bridge between the social and mass media silos, did Roy have the slightest inkling of what lie ahead when hooking up bird’s eye cameras in his home? “We had absolutely no clue. I had no specific interest in television or media. I’ve sort of become a student of the media business.” ■ bluefinlabs.com


* actual size of competition *

Hosted by

Curtis Stone


BRIEF ENCOUNTERS IN FOCUS

sS aire ps n i d te xtro ext S E g ir N ber o l d g e T he G e ul R ub s D iv G r e e n b a L a ha nn By

y yn

S

When indie band OK Go approached Los Angeles creative technology collective Syyn Labs about working on their new music video following their smash hit, single-shot, treadmill hopping “Here It Goes Again,” they knew they had a lot of live up to. “Here It Goes Again” was a viral sensation, racking up more than 52 million views on YouTube and is one of the channel’s most-watched videos. Syyn Labs did not disappoint. Working with band front man Damian Kulash, Syyn Labs conceptualized, designed and built a giant Rube Goldberg machine – a device that uses a complicated system of chain reac-

BRIEF 22


tions to execute a simple task – that spanned two stories of a downtown warehouse and performed a series of song-synced tasks from dropping umbrellas to splattering paint on the band members for the grand finale. As with “Here It Goes Again,” “This Too Shall Pass” was a one-shot video, but it took about 60 people two days and more than 60 takes to get that one perfect shot. Released just over a year ago, the video was another mega-hit for the band, garnering more than 25.7 million hits on YouTube. Clients including Google, Die Hard batteries and Disney XD came calling next hoping to recreate the magic formula that had made OK Go’s video a online sensation. Even with high-profile clients like Google seeking out projects, many in the group of engineers, physics geeks and scientists who make up Syyn Labs still have day jobs and just get together for late-night or weekend work parties when new projects come up. But now in their third year, the group is starting to move from weekend warriors to more full-time, paid gigs. “We are definitely a collection of really talented people from diverse backgrounds who love just being together, ” said Synn Labs’ president Adam Sadowsky, who recently became of the company’s first-full time hires. The company is approached with daily inquires for jobs. “Sometimes they want us to build a Rube Goldberg machine to operate live at their son’s Bar Mitzvah,” said Sadowsky, “but the majority are from ad agencies who are really interested in stretching or pushing the envelope.” So how do they keep from being branded as just the guys who do massive Rube Goldberg pieces? Do something completely different. The team is currently working on a 40,000 square foot interactive retail space that Sadowsky says “is going to be a mindblower.” The collective also has some projects they’ve engineered on their own that are ripe for a branding opportunity such as their Cloud Mirror project. Showcased at the

C

Scenes from OK Go’s “This Too Shall Pass”

SPRING 2011

23


BRIEF ENCOUNTERS IN FOCUS

Sundance film festival, the installation is a screen, which scans event attendees badges for their standard personal information (name, email) then utilizes augmented reality, computer vision and cloud computing to project personal data mined from the Internet such as marital status, astrological sign and even sibling names into a thought bubble next to the user’s face. Facebook profiles are often the key to this information according to Sadowsky. The projection also offers a phone number friends can text to add additional, revealing information to the thought bubbles. “It is kind of amazing, and it is a really captivating and interesting experience,” Sadowsky said. “It always has a line everywhere we go. But we have not had a proper branding opportunity. There has not yet really been that great partnership, so the opportunity still exists.” So are they an engineering company or a design company? Sadowsky said the collective recently went through a bit on an identity crisis on just that topic. “There was an interesting point where we were trying to clarify our identity in our own heads. We had to make the decision for ourselves: Are we an engineering company or not?” said Sadowsky. “We have all come to realize that in fact we are a creative company first. We just happen to have a really deep technology bench. “We are a talented group of creative engineers and people who want to make art and make beautiful, captivating and interesting things for the world at large to play with.” ■

BRIEF 24

From top: OK Go’s grand finale for “This Too Shall Pass”; a smaller Rube Goldberg machine for Disney XD


GamesRadar is

FULL OF WIN by Marcello Almaguer

AWESOMESAUCE!

Great app. I love! by June Martin


BRAND/REBRAND DESIGN/DISSECT IN FOCUS

The Mill Infuses Grace and Beauty into Production Limbo By Andrea Kennedy When director Neil Gorringe approached Luke Colson, head of Mill Studios, with his concept for the E4 Skins promo, Colson knew he was about to embark on a production journey as chaotic as the nightmarish nose-dive the final promo portrays. The UK’s popular and controversial series was introducing a new cast of teens for its upcoming season, and Gorringe wanted to reveal the talent, as Colson describes, “being born out of nothing.” And though promoting a series wrought with controversy, the spot would be nothing but a tasteful and artful depiction of the talent’s “birth.” Colson, who also would oversee the shoot and post-production, dove into production from the start, seeking solutions to the bevy of brainstorms before them. With The Mill’s proclivity for creative production methods and Colson’s strong working relationship with Gorringe, Colson felt confident the concept would deliver a brilliant product. But from a production standpoint, Colson’s initial reaction was: how?

CONCEPT Upon hearing Neil Gorringe’s very broad and raw brief for the E4 Skins spot, the talent “being born out of nothing,” executive producer Luke Colson admitted he had some questions. Storyboards painted a slightly clearer picture, showing unclothed characters falling in a dark void – at first slowly, then plummeting downward – becoming clothed in the process.

BRIEF 26

“This brief was like, make these people that aren’t naked and aren’t falling out of the sky and aren’t in a shot together look like they’re naked, falling out of the sky, together,” Colson said, laughing as he heard himself explain such a formidable task.


PRE-PRODUCTION Launching pre-production, Colson admitted his biggest challenge was simply the unknown; no one could contrive a viable method of shooting the necessary speed, environment and perspective to attain Gorringe’s concept. Colson sought strategies from people who ran rigs, stuntmen and even people working on the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film, some of whom suggested hoisting the talent on a harness and dropping them. But as many of the methods required excessive production equipment and avoidable VFX work, Colson could not use any of them. In rehearsals, he tried filming each cast member in flesh-colored underwear jumping from a platform and landing on a mattress with the help of a stuntman, even having the talent jump on a trampoline and strike poses mid-air. “On the first day of rehearsal, it was very apparent that was just not going to happen at all,” Colson explained. “People aren’t necessarily comfortable on a trampoline, especially with no clothes on!” Losing time, Colson knew they had to head in a different direction. “We went right back to basics,” he said. “We took a plinth that the actors could lay on – either on their front or their back, however they felt more comfortable – and we had lots of fans creating that feeling of velocity, of gravity,” he said. They also rigged the camera on a huge crane, allowing it to move dynamically and capture depth and perspective.

C

Initial story boards

spring 2011

“As far as Neil was concerned,” said Colson, “he was getting some really lovely shots, which, when we were shooting at 1,000 frames, looked absolutely stunning. We knew the minute we got this technique going that we were onto a winner.”

27


BRAND/REBRAND DESIGN/DISSECT

SHOOT For the two-day shoot, each Skins cast member was shot separately on the plinth, a rotating stand with a long platform horizontally affixed on it and wore skin-colored underwear. The plinth sat on a raised stage against black, with industrial fans below blowing upwards to create a sense of speed. Each shot was flushed with dramatic lighting and captured the figures flailing, or “falling,” from different angles above and below the stage. Filmed on a Phantom, the video was shot at speeds of 500, 750, and even 1,000 frames per second. When played back, the result depicts the talent, at times, as classical nudes falling light as a feather and, at others, plummeting downwards towards imminent danger.

IN FOCUS

To create the look of the teens falling into their clothing, the art department rigged pieces of apparel and accessories so they could be pulled off very quickly. They then dressed each person, and captured on film the shirts, shoes, bracelets and other items being whipped off. “In reverse,” said Colson, “you get the impression that the things were finding them in space and flying onto them.”

POST-PRODUCTION With only two weeks for post-production, The Mill employed both their Flame and Nuke suites to composite all the scenes together, then correct each individual shot and maximize the look and feel of the piece to be, as Colson described, “vastly beautiful and visually stunning.” According to Colson, based on a reference from Gorringe and editor James Rosen, post artists keyed out each individual person, placing them in the appropriate scenes. They erased all the stands and people in the shot holding the fans, as well as the flesh-colored underwear, which they digitally replaced with skin. With the correct people placed in each shot, artists then had to achieve the right perspective and speed of each person falling, so when the audio track (Arcade Fire’s “Ready to Start”) sped up, so did the acceleration of the fall – all in a continual, cohesive shot. To create environment, VFX artists added camera shake and particles to produce a sense of chaos during the nightmarish plummets. Colson also cited the color grade as an instrumental part of achieving the look and feel of the final result. “Neil had a very strong vision of what he wanted, taking lots of the natural color out and leaving quite a monochromatic feel,” said Colson. “It really added to the atmospheric look of the spot.” “This is the fun bit,” said Colson. “In shooting, they were never airborne. And that’s what makes it all the more impressive.” ■

BRIEF 28

Sequence renderings

CREDITS Production Company: 4creative Director: Neil Gorringe Producer: Jason Delahunty Editing Company: Final Cut London Editor: James Rosen Post-Production/VFX Company: The Mill London Executive Producer: Luke Colson Shoot Supervisors: Luke Colson, Des Anwar, Pete Hodsman 2D Lead Artists: Pete Rypstra, Pete Hodsman Assist: John Price Colourist: Seamus O’Kane


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY IN FOCUS

Activision CCO and EVP Brad Jakeman Discusses His Marketing Mission

BRIEF 30

In the three short years since Brad Jakeman, Activision’s chief creative officer and EVP, entered the entertainment industry from his post as Macy’s EVP, corporate marketing, he’s overseen the two biggest launches in entertainment history: 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and the follow-up phenomenon with last year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops. Jonathan Block-Verk caught up with him at Activision’s Santa Monica headquarters to talk about how his time in the agency world prepared him for his current position, why he thinks the video game business is designing the future and how to combat the perception of marketing as “pollution.”


Jonathan Block-Verk: What drew you from the agency world to the gaming space? Brad Jakeman: I saw the trends. You see the hours of engagement with video games versus any other media and almost any other leisure activity for a pretty important segment of the population, and you quickly realize that is a future-looking business. This is a business of the future. This is a growing business; the launch of Modern Warfare 2, which was the largest entertainment launch of all time, grossing $550 million in sales in the first week, followed subsequently by Call of Duty: Black Ops, which in its second year, became the second biggest launch of all time. Block-Verk: What is the role of marketing in the success of a launch of that scope? Jakeman: Marketing in this space is somewhat more complicated and complex than marketing for other brands, because we have two segments of audience. One is a very core gamer, and one is that newer, more mass consumer. We have to think about both, and both are extremely important to us. The core gamer is somebody

who also, if we do our job right, can act as a media for us. But then we also have that other consumer who is slightly less of a core gamer, and we’ve got to talk to them about some of the broader, more overreaching components of the game, because that’s how we are going to grow the category. It’s complicated, because it’s not like we only have to talk to kind of one thing. We have at least two very clear segments of consumers, each whom consume media differently. Block-Verk: How is the rise of downloadable content and microtransactions affecting the role of marketing in this industry?

Block-Verk: But obviously you haven’t alienated television. It is still an important part of your marketing mix.

C

spring 2011

Jakeman: I think the major shift – in addition to a focus on a big kind of annual launch – is more of a focus on a persistent and consistent conversation with the consumer. There are multiple content experiences we can and do offer consumers in addition to being kind of an annualized retail launch. Downloadable content is obviously an important part of that, and the principal change that is driving is just a different cadence of conservation with the consumer. When I got into this category, the principal media spin was the television, and as we are getting to a more consistent and persistent dialogue with consumers about a more kind of persistent stream of content, digital channels become more important to us, like some of the social networking media that we use.

31


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

“The value of creativity and the value of compelling content has been greatly diminished, and marketing has become calculus.” Jakeman: The marketing industry unfortunately tends to live in this world of “or.” It’s television or it’s digital, and we [at Activision] don’t think that way at all. We look at integrated communication architecture that uses all types of media, including television as part of a comprehensive and integrated communication plan. We’re more of an “and” marketer than an “or” marketer when it comes to digital and traditional. The term “digital marketing” is used all over the place. There is no such thing as digital marketing; there is marketing of which digital is a component. If one more person asks me what my Twitter strategy is... I don’t have a Twitter strategy. I have a [marketing] strategy of which Twitter is one part. Block-Verk: What are your thoughts about brand integration — about the networks approaching you about integrating your titles into their shows for a fee?

IN FOCUS

Jakeman: We have the duality of being a major advertiser at the same time as being a major creative force in content. The perceived wisdom when you are an advertiser is that your message, almost by definition, is meant to be less valuable and less prized and less attractive to the free-to-air content that is disseminated through television. Therefore, the perceived wisdom of the advertising market would dictate that advertisers need to pay to put that content on top of the free-to-air content – pay for the privilege of putting that content on top of free-to-air content. With Call of Duty specifically, we have some of the most compelling content in entertainment, period. So we will launch an assault on unpaid media, like YouTube and it will aggregate an audience of around 9 million in a 48-hour period. So playing that logic, it appears to me to be an odd equation for me to pay some media a fee for overlaying exclusive content on top of their content, when I know my content is going probably aggregate and drive a bigger audiences faster than theirs. Block-Verk: What are some of the most memorable campaigns you have done over your career? Jakeman: I am extremely proud of the Call of Duty: Blackhawk campaign that ran last year, “There’s a Soldier in All of Us.” What was great about it was it really spoke to the mass and the core [audience], simultaneously. I am obviously very proud of the “Live Richly” campaign for Citigroup, including the identity theft advertising, which really changed the dialogue of banking for the seven years that it ran. It turned what was a cold financial institution into an institution that understood that consumers didn’t wake every day wanting to be a millionaire; they woke up every day wanting to have a richer life. “The Magic of Macy’s” campaign – featuring all of the celebrities who design lines, apparel and merchandise for the store — was really a way to redefine Macy’s for an audi-

BRIEF 32

Activision’s popular titles include Call of Duty: Black Ops, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Tony Hawk: Ride.

ence that had begun to think of it as the place to go for a great sale, more than a place to go for imaginative, amazing merchandise. So, I am proud of repositioning Macy’s within that framework. Each of those campaigns had very well developed digital components to them with social networking media that was featured very prominently in that communication mix. Block-Verk: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given or can give? Jakeman: Anne McDonald, who at that moment was the CMO of Citigroup said, “Always focus on the quality of the creative product, and everything else will come.” If you focus on the politics or process or all of those other components that are important to focus on at some point in time, but you take your eye off really creating amazing, compelling content, that is not the pathway to success. And I think in the marketing world right now, sadly, the value of creativity and the value of compelling content has been greatly diminished, and marketing has become calculus. As marketers, what we produce by and large is viewed by consumers as pollution. That is a very sad state of affairs, and it’s largely because marketers have not spent enough time focusing on producing amazing, creative marketing content that consumers actually seek out, rather than want to screen out. I think we are now going to enter into a new era of marketing, where people who have high creative sensibilities and who orient themselves around the work are going to be incredibly valuable to major marketers. ■


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VIdEo GamE maRkEtInG

SPECIaL REPoRtS

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When Epic Games’ design director Cliff Bleszinski took the stage at this year’s the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, he addressed the one thing radically changing the gaming industry: digital. Bleszinski, whose company is responsible for top titles like Gears of War and Unreal Tournament, highlighted the difference between platforms available now and a mere five years ago – the peak of the console generation – and how it’s changing not just the players, but the industry as well. In 2005, consumers only had access to a handful of costly single-purpose machines that ran expensive games, which could only be obtained through in-store purchases. But if capturing the attention of gamers was difficult during the age of persuasion, in the modern arena of limitless messaging it’s nearly impossible. Today, players are armed with a host of internet-ready devices, all with the ability to play low-cost games. Between the iPhone, Facebook, Playstation 3, Nintendo DS and Kinect, there are more opportunities than ever before for consumers to fill their gaming needs. So video game publishers, eager to capitalize on these new opportunities without sacrificing the model that’s kept the industry stable for the past 30 years, are increasingly utilizing digital multi-platform approaches to keep players invested in their properties no matter what screen they’re using. As Craig Relyea, SVP of global marketing at Disney Interactive, which, with Club Penguin, has one of the most cohesive transgaming experiences, said, “We’re moving toward a more ubiquitous and connected approach to platforms, which mirrors the way people consume their interactive entertainment.” Capcom has been at the forefront of this new tactic with branded releases across a variety of platforms, all pushing a traditional retail launch. In August 2010, the publisher released Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, a download-only sample of the full Dead Rising 2 experience scheduled to hit stores later that September. With its budget price and full-quality production values, Case Zero garnered more than half a million downloads before the full game was ever released, acting as one of the biggest promotional tools for the game. This ultimately helped Capcom push in-store

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VIDEO GAME MARKETING

purchases of Dead Rising 2 to the tune of 2 milolion units, making it oneo of the biggest gamoes of 2010. What separated Case Zero from the traditionaol demo model was that whiloe it offered many eloements of the complete experienceo, it was narrativeoly distinct from thoe final product. Most video game demos simply package a level or two for the player to sample, but Capcom created unique conteont that connected too the full game and left players ready to pick up the story again when Dead Rising 2 finally launched. By giving new players a real taste of the final experience with narrative elements exclusive to the sample, Case Zero was accessible to o newcomers while offeoring something uniquoe to lasting fans. It was a simpole and effective storategy that was exotremely profitable; while most video game demos cost studios a lot of moneyo to produce, Case Zero pulled in gross revenue around o$2.5 million.

SPECIAL REPORTS

Capcom isn’t the only publisher to achieve success with a multi-tieredo release structure. oElectronic Arts’ mobile division haso been offering on-thoe-go versions of their hit franchises since 2004. With the proliferation of Apple’s iOS devices and the popularity of the App Store marketplace, oEA Mobile has been oproducing companion iPhone ando iPad games for almoost every major retail release. Last year’s release of the company’s FIFA World Cup: South Africa app for iPhones and iPod touches joined the company’s long olist of Electronic Aorts’ gaming properties that have been turned into popular apps including the MADDEN NFL and The Sims series. A recent study by PopCap Games, publisher of successful free online games such as Bejeweled, showed that 92% of all smaortphone gamers playo games on their phones at least oncoe a week, and about ohalf of them play daily. By releasing quality, branded apps, video game publishers likoe Electronic Arts aore seeing the benefits of releasinog mobile versions ofo their games not just as a product, bout as a means of advoertising. At low price points, consumoers get access to coasual-friendly versions of blockbuster games like Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 without significant monetary investment. And their mobile play habits have them roevisiting these broands on a routine bases, reinforcing otheir place withino the consumer’s entertainment patterns. Facebook has also beoen a large area of ofocus for the games industry. Both Electronic Arts and Ubisoft have released seveoral companion gameso on the social network that allow oplayers to play witohin their

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Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood


Building Brands Is Our Creed

Blood Sexual Themes Strong Language Violence

Š 2011 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries.


VIdEo GamE maRkEtInG

brands for free while earning bonuses for the retail versions of their games. In addition to the viral marketing benefits, these branded Facebook games offer players a way of casually interacting with the game for free while creating added value for the full purchase. For example, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood saw a companion Facebook game released prior to the retail launch. Assassin’s Creed: Project Legacy invited players to enjoy an experience similar to the hit Zynga property Mafia Wars while earning additional content for the full version of Brotherhood. This method invites players in to a free, casual experience and slowly creates additional value for them by giving them more with their purchase. What made Assassin’s Creed: Project Legacy such a success was that Ubisoft realized the bi-directionalpartnership of the ecosystem they created. In addition to unlocking content in the retail game, players who enjoy both experiences unlocked more content for the Facebook game. This in turn creates a cycle of play that encourages the consumer to interact with the brand routinely through different portals, creating relevancy through repetition and availability regardless of where the player is interacting with the brand.

SPECIaL REPoRtS

Despite being Ubisoft’s first initiative in their continuing companion gaming strategy, players flocked to both versions of the game but also spread their involvement with the brand beyond just gameplay. As a testament to the brand-growing potential of their companion gaming strategy, Tony Key SVP of sales and marketing at Ubisoft confessed that, “The Assassin’s Creed: Project Legacy Facebook game greatly increased the number of fans on the Assassin’s Creed Facebook fan page, nearly doubling the number of fans.” 2K Games, publishers of the 2K Sports franchise and hit games such as Bioshock and Duke Nukem, follows a similar philosophy – using iOS and Facebook applications as a means to extend brands, but only if they’re a good fit. According to Sarah Anderson, SVP of marketing at 2K, blanket strategies are not as important as good content. “We look for compelling ways to extend our franchises and will pursue development for iOS and other platforms when it makes sense for our business and brands,” said Anderson. “Above all, we have to make great games that consumers want to spend time playing.”

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Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops


SEEING MUTANT ZOMBIES THROUGH THE DARK IS GREAT.

SEEING VIDEO GAME TRENDS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE IS BETTER. GameSpot Trax reads the pulse of the gaming community for data to help predict real world outcomes. Get reliable key performance indicators that help you see in the dark and make better decisions. Email us at trax@gamespot.com.


VIDEO GAME MARKETING

It’s not just the hardcore gamers that are being targeted with these new multi-platform approaches; with its free-to-play browsero game being supporteod by Nintendo Wii and DS titles, Disney Interactive has created an ecosystem for their younoger Club Penguin player that goes beyond the limits of a single, dedicated portal.

Activision has realoized this and by croeating quality properties and refusoing to dilute the exoperience with Facebook and iOS games, they’ve been able to keep gamers hungry for thoeir properties yearo after year; there o has been a best-seolling Call of Duty game released every holiday seasoon for the last five oyears.

SPECIAL REPORTS

While these strategies have proven effective for many, appointment gaming is still the mainstay of the industry, and there are stilol large video game opublishers that resist using digitally downloaded software as a means to reconnect with their customer throughout the day. Some companies, likoe Activision, belieove that diluting brands with App Stoore versions of theior properties ultimately makes thoe time consumers speond withtheir brands less valuabloe. And it’s hard too argue with their reticence to switch their game plan: the fact that there has been a best-seolling Call of Duty game released every holiday seasoon for the last five oyearsshows they’ve proven theyo can keep gamers houngry for their properties. Last November at thoe Reuters Global Medoia Summit, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick stated, “We don’t view the App Store as a oreally big opportunioty for dedicated games.” Still, the company’s chief franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops, which sold more than 5.6 million units in its first day, does have a companion app-based game for the iPhone – Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies. There’s no right answer to a game producer’s approach to digital. If, in the case of Activision, it ain’t broke, it’s hard to argue the decision to stay the course. The potential benefits too adding a new layeor to an overall gaming experience, however, are compelling. By creating contento that is meant to ulotimately draw users into a console oexperience, game poublishers have the opportunityo to turn what was onoce simply a marketing expense ointo a potential souroce of revenue. And if free versionso of online games areo the gateway to a more realized experience, then quick-hit, bite-sized games have the poteontial toprompt a neow new group of people to self-ascoribe themselves aso gamers. And then hopefully buy a oconsole. But if not, aot least they’ve made a few new friends along the way. ■

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From top: Capcom’s Dead Rising 2; Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Project Legacy


VIdEo GamE maRkEtInG

As app-based games invade the market, publishers are seizing the opportunity to turn their console classics into downloadable experiences for the iPhone and the iPad. Shanna Green highlights some of the hits that have fared well in the Apple marketplace.

Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles Publisher: Ubisoft Original Game Platform: PlayStation, Windows, Xbox

FIFA 11 Publisher: EA SPORTS Original Game Platform: PlayStation, Wii, Windows, Xbox

SPECIaL REPoRtS

Price: $2.99 iPhone; $9.99 iPad App Extras: Borrowing from the console version’s Be-A-Pro mode, users can develop their own players and track their soccer careers as they move up the goal posts from domestic to pro games, with details stopping just short of allowing your character to marry a Spice Girl.

Price: $0.99 iPhone; $6.99 iPad App Extras: Sharper graphics mean the game (and Altair) has gotten prettier since the DS version, while mini games add layers to the already expansive narrative. Throw in a storyline about a crusade for a mysterious Chalice, and we’re in. If he starts fighting Nazis with his dad though, we’re telling Mr. Lucas.

Rock Band Publisher: MTV Games/Electronic Arts Original Game Platform: PlayStation, Wii, Xbox Price: $4.99 iPhone; 9.99 iPad App Extras: If you’re not in the same room as the rest of your band mates, you can also form a band via the Facebook Connect option, which lets you play your part out of sync and nudge your friend when it’s their turn to rock.

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Metal Gear Solid Touch Publisher: Konami Original Game Platform: PlayStation

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Publisher: LucasArts/THQ Wireless Original Game Platform: PlayStation, Wii, Xbox Price: $0.99 App Extras: Obi-Wan isn’t the only one with Jedi mind tricks as players use their fingertips to control the force. Unlock the survival mode to take on a room full of stormtroopers, but be careful, this is part of the prequel universe, so there’s no Chewie to back you up.

Price: $ 7.99 App Extras: A pinch zoom feature offers more precise rifle shots, just in case Snake’s headband slips too far down, which will come in handy for building up points to purchase the Metal Gear wallpapers available exclusively through the mobile version’s Drebin’s Shop.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Publisher: Rockstar Games Original Game Platform: PlayStation

Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies Publisher: Activision Original Game Platform: PlayStation, Wii, Windows, Xbox Price: $4.99 App Extras: Not content to keep your zombie kills to yourself? With the multiplayer connection, soldiers can use the app to brag about their stats to fellow recruits and even schedule private shoot ’em up matches for date nights.

Price: $9.99 App Extras: Once you’ve jacked your ride of choice, you can create your own Grand Theft Auto playlist through your iTunes and sync the car stereo to your personalized tunes. May we suggest some Van Halen for your virtual mayhem?

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VIdEo GamE maRkEtInG

SPECIaL REPoRtS

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Xbox’s Lee Rossini on What Propelled Kinect’s Record Sales When Microsoft launched their new control-free gaming platform, Kinect, last November, their original projected sales figures were for 3 million units by the end of the year. Ambitious to be sure, but when Kinect was released, it sold 8 million units in its first two months. Not only did it surpass Microsoft’s expectations, but it also received the Guinness Book of World Records title of the fastest-selling consumer electronics product in history. Shanna Green sat down with Xbox’s director of US consumer and retail marketing, Lee Rossini, to discuss the record-breaking launch. What was the Kinect launch marketing strategy? Because Kinect is a new platform for us, we went out of our way to launch it at the magnitude of a brand new console launch. The overarching marketing strategy was to take what’s so great and different about Kinect — no controller required — and show it off across all of our marketing communications. What was marketing’s role was in the success of the launch? We knew that getting people to experience Kinect prior to launch was critical, so we invested in mobile tours, mall tours, etc. to give consumers lots of opportunity to play with Kinect prior to launch. The fact we sold 1 million units in the first week is a testament to how much excitement we had built for the product prior to launch. Is there a difference in your marketing approach for the casual versus the hardcore gamer? Absolutely. Obviously what triggers a core gamer to buy Kinect is very different than what would entice a more casual [gamer] or even someone who’s never played games to buy

Why do you think the sales were so much higher than expected? We’ve now sold more than 10 million Kinect sensors worldwide. Kinect has exceeded our expectations worldwide and played a huge role in the most successful launch ever for the Xbox business. That’s a testament to what an incredible product Kinect is. What’s next for Kinect? Lots of innovative new experiences and uses for Kinect are being dreamed up every day. We can’t wait for you to see what developers are bringing to Kinect in the near future. ■

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Kinect’s in-game avatars

Kinect. For the core gamer, it’s about enabling new ways to play the games they love and enhancing and delivering games experiences through Kinect that they’ve never been able to do before. It’s also about interacting with their TVs and digital entertainment through voice and gestures. And it’s about having the latest, most innovative technology in their homes. And for the more casual consumer, Kinect removes the biggest and often most intimidating barrier to entry – the controller – making experiencing entertainment and games more fun and accessible.

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EntERtaInmEnt REBRands sPECIaL REPORts

Best Practices for Rebranding, Refreshing and Renewing By Kevin Ritchie

When Sci-Fi Channel rebranded as Syfy two years ago, media pundits, bloggers and longtime viewers pounced, ridiculing the new name and spelling as grammatical tomfoolery and aesthetic smoke and mirrors. Execs at the 19-year-old channel were ready for a backlash. The rebrand was the result of 18 months of research, planning and presentations from staff and advertisers outlining specific business goals that hinged on a name change.

Less than two years later, the Syfy makeover has proved to be a successful entertainment rebrand. The channel has since launched in 72 countries and expanded into new businesses Syfy Games, Syfy Films and Syfy Kids through its Syfy Ventures arm. At the end of 2009, its total ratings were up 4%, including an 18% jump in female viewers 18-34 and it was the sixth ranked cable entertainment channel for adults 25-49. Today, its worldwide subscriber base is 99 million.

“It was a challenging marketing proposition,” said Michael Engleman, Syfy’s SVP, marketing, global brand strategy. “In some ways, the marketing was catching up to the programming because we had already seen a broader range of diverse formats pay dividends for us. We needed a brand that was a better package than what we already had on the channel.”

The Syfy rebrand is emblematic of the core challenge broadcast networks and cable channels face: how to grow and evolve with audience tastes and viewing habits without sacrificing existing brand equity?

Although the network was popular, boasting a subscriber base of 95 million at the time, the old name, Sci-Fi, was too generic to be trademarked, hard to search, prone to misspellings and hindered its parent company NBCUniversal’s plan to evolve beyond a niche, US-based network into a global brand.

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A television property rebrands for a variety of reasons. It might need to freshen up the on-air look and feel in response to new programming or viewing habits; re-work its positioning and logo to grow its audience; respond to the departure of a big star or find new marketing twists for a long-running series. Here are four recent rebranding examples of four television brands that were at different life stages, but ultimately shared a similar goal: to continue growing their audience without alienating their existing one.

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THE YOUNGER VIEWER Brand strategist and consultant Lee Hunt said entertainment rebrands come down to a push from above to grow revenue in an ever-crowded marketplace. As more cable channels are added to the dial, niche networks that popped up in the ‘80s and ‘90s are broadening their scope to attract younger viewers and ad dollars. “They hit this glass ceiling of a one rating or maybe a two rating, and in order to continue to grow revenue, they’ve had to expand the audience base, which means becoming a ‘general entertainment network,’” said Hunt. “Generally, what you could say about all these channels is they’re a ‘general entertainment network with a unique point of view.’” IFC is one of those niche networks that popped up in the ‘90s, and in late 2009, it was experiencing an identity crisis. Founded in 1994, the Independent Film Channel sprung from the indie film boom of the mid-‘90s and became a place for film buffs to enjoy commercial-free films, documentaries and shorts. Four years ago, it began expanding its mandate into other areas of alternative culture by acquiring comedy shows such as Arrested Development and producing original half-hour series, an evolution that rendered the filmstrip notch in its logo out of date.

SPECIAL REPORTS

“What concerned me as a marketer is we were doing things that we weren’t getting credit for doing,” said Kent Rees, SVP of marketing at IFC. “We felt the network had evolved to a place where we could comment on music, gaming, film, comedy, all sorts of things that fit under the independent culture umbrella. The objective was really to build a brand that would allow us to do that and still stay in touch with our very true and real independent creativity.” Internally, IFC had a strong self-perception, but viewers had no idea what it was about. So Rees hired New York-based research firm Sachs Insights to conduct an ethnographic study of IFC’s viewers. It undertook a five-month quantitative study, breaking the audience into segments like Authentic Influencers (young males), Responsible Rebels (older males) and the less cryptic-sounding Chicks Who Watch TV Like Dudes. Sachs then selected 19 viewers across the country that its researchers and members of IFC’s marketing team would hang out with. Rees flew to San Francisco and hung out with a bunch of guys who

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IFC’s new tag line

live in a record store. “Not above, not around, not next to, but in a record store,” he said. “I sat with these guys and watched them and watched the network. They opened up their DVRs and showed us what was in there.” What he found was a whole lot of confusion. Over and over again viewers associated IFC with long, boring movies. “We actually heard our audience say things like, ‘Oh, does IFC have shows? I didn’t know that,’” Rees said. “We were suffering from that PBS mentality, which is people appreciated us and liked us, but didn’t watch us enough.” He drafted a 75-page document and recruited strategy company and design firm Feels Good Anyway to revamp its brand positioning to help persuade males aged 18-34 and men and women ages 34-59 to tune in. Inspired by the new tagline, “Always On. Slightly Off.,” Feels Good Anyway dropped the film notch from the logo and gave it a slightly off-kilter look. They bent right angles, added irregularly rounded corners, made the surfaces of the letters uneven and added an ill-fitting text box with the tagline. There’s a humorous tone to the rebrand’s IDs and spots that springs from the channel’s increasing emphasis on comedy. Rees said the rebranded look is attracting new talent to the network, increasing web traffic, social media chatter and viewership. The new look also coincided with IFC’s switch to an ad-supported format. “We think niche is the new mass,” he said. “We’re not trying to be the biggest network out there. We’re just trying to be the right network for the audience that we’ve identified.”


THE FACELIFT A television brand with a solid, well-articulated identity and strategy may not need to rebrand often, but freshening up is sometimes necessary if the current look starts to feel stale, to draw attention to a new slate of programming or in response to a competitor. Television is like fashion, according to Dan Pappalardo, executive creative director and co-founder of Los Angeles-based creative studio Troika Design Group. “It’s got to move forward with the times to feel relevant and of-the-moment,” he said. “We’re just so right there like fashion. If you stay in one place you’ll just lose your edge.” Troika has created identities for WE tv, Fox and The CW in recent years. In 2004, the company helped launch The CW, a network that has since built up a young audience thanks to shows like America’s Next Top Model and risqué nighttime soaps like Gossip Girl and 90210. The tools Troika designed helped The CW establish itself, and once it had a better understanding of its audience and identity, it needed fine-tuning. A few years later, the network needed a refresh that took into account something they could not have predicted: the rise of social media. In 2009, The CW launched its “TV To Talk About” tagline, an idea that springs from the social media chatter around shows like Gossip Girl. Troika updated and unified the visual aesthetic so on-air elements had a more “digital” feel and functionality that matched what viewers see online. The

The CW’s social media strategy

designers also added lower-third cues called “text ‘n’ tweets” that help viewers navigate between platforms during a broadcast. “We go through a process with The CW that we call a think tank,” said Pappalardo. “They bring us on to literally audit where they’re at in terms of the brand identity, how it’s functioning, the marketing needs and their communication needs. We partner with them to think big and [about] what can we do to move things forward.” Although the refresh isn’t as dramatic as something like Syfy’s name change, the underlying motivation is similar. “Almost every project we’ve been asked to engage in is because there’s a business purpose that had become clearer,” said Troika president and cofounder Chuck Carey. “It’s almost never done out of aesthetic fatigue. That’s a liability that people can fall into, but generally that’s symptomatic of a desire to put the focus on building a new set of tools.”

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THE DIVORCE The loss of a major star can pose a host of challenges for marketers. After nine successful seasons, American Idol judge Simon Cowell announced he was leaving the show. When the singing competition premiered in 2002, the British TV personality was an unknown in the US, but his blunt critiquing style and acerbic wit transformed him into a major star. The lively exchanges between Cowell and his fellow judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson became the show’s marketing focal point in those early seasons. Although the celebrity judges tend to garner a lot of coverage, the show’s primary marketing message since season four has been the contestants’ journey from anonymous small-town nobody to big-time star. The network continued on this tact through season 10 with a documentary-style marketing campaign that profiled previous winners. “We are still very much believers in, ‘This is a talent competition.’ This is about the journey these contestants take,” said Joe Earley, president of marketing and communications for Fox. “We didn’t want to lose that message and have it overshadowed by the sheer star power we were dealing with.”

SPECIAL REPORTS

After Cowell decided to leave, along with fellow judges Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi, and the press was rife with speculation and leaks about the replacements. In addition to the inspiring “Every Superstar Begins With a Dream,” the show’s marketers would also have to undertake a concurrent campaign to intro the new judging talent — a daunting proposition from a marketing point of view. Not only is it rare for a show to make it to season 10, but to weather through major cast changes on top of that is a formidable task. “This season was crucial,” said Earley. “There was incredible potential for everything to fall off the cliff.”

American Idol’s new judges

He knew who he didn’t want on the panel: a Cowell carbon copy, which would be a tough sell, or a star with no interest in marketing the show — something he’s found many times in his 16 years at the network. “As the names were coming about the Idol judges, we’d say, ‘Oooh, that’s a real plus here but that’s a real minus there.’” Fortunately, the new judges — pop star Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler —were willing to work to market themselves. For example, Earley says Lopez showed up early for a photo shoot, was camera-ready before everyone else, worked through her lunch and stayed late. As auditions progressed, their chemistry, energy and style became apparent: Jackson was being tougher this season, Tyler was totally unpredictable, and Lopez was emotional but tough. Fox cut together a sizzle reel for the press and began to reveal footage strategically. “If we came out of the gate with, ‘Superstars finding superstars’ without proof of performance, we could have people reject us,” Earley said. “In a lot of ways it’s out of your control, but we were lucky enough to get this magic happening, and we’re running with it from a marketing standpoint.”

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R E AC H I N G E V E RY G A M E R T H AT M AT T E R S

4.8 MILLION U.S. GAMERS

MONTHLY

NORTHWEST

SOUTHWEST

NORTHEAST

SOUTHEAST

Nick Geist

Jessica Reback

Janelle Bonanno

Newton Grant

Sales Director ngeist@gamepro.com (415) 974-7323

Sales Director jreback@gamepro.com (415) 974-7384

Sales Manager

VP, Sales

jbonanno@themis-media.com

ngrant@themis-media.com

(919) 806-4209

(919) 806-4452

Source: comScore Media Metrix, January 2011, IntelliQuest 2010


ENTERTAINMENT REBRANDS

THE LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP ABC’s romantic reality series The Bachelor, a show about a group of women vying to become the potential wife of an eligible bachelor, entered its fifteenth season this year. As with a television network that looks to a refresh to draw in new eyes, the series’ marketers must find new ways to entice new viewers each year. Over the years, as the cameras have captured cat fights, fantasy suites and broken hearts, execs have become better at playing up the show’s campy soap opera plot twists by offering sneak peeks online to stoke social media chatter. Most of the time, they take their cues from producers who will switch up the rules or throw red herrings at the audience. Still, not every season is as scintillating as the last. “We do take our lead a lot of times from the show, but if the show is not as compelling, we have to find ways to make it compelling,” said Jill Gershman, VP, alternative series, specials and late night at ABC. “Primarily, it’s finding characters within the season to break out.” This season posed an interesting new challenge, she said, because producers brought back ex-bachelor Brad Womack, who shocked season seven viewers and two unlucky ladies by choosing to stay single. As a marketer, Gershman liked the plot twist, but older fans were upset by the move. “He came with a little bit of baggage,” she admitted.

SPECIAL REPORTS

To assure the show’s female fan base that Womack was a changed man, ABC gave viewers the opportunity to grill him by submitting questions via Facebook. He responded on camera in a series of unedited clips. “It was a great way for us to speak directly to the audience and address their concerns and get ahead of the game and start to market a little earlier,” added Gershman. So what are the keys to a lasting love between networks and audiences? No matter if it’s puppy love or a life-long commitment, every relationship needs tending to. ■

ABC’s The Bachelor

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Context is Everything


ENTERTAINMENT REBRANDS

Face it, people hate change. So when established brands roll out refreshes of their logos, even successful iterations can initially take some heat, and with social media platforms like Twitter giving a far-reaching voice to consumers, brands can’t afford to ignore their critics. Shanna Green looks at four recent logo rebrands and how social media influenced their varying degrees of success.

#WIN

JCPenney

#FAIL Gap

Case: After more than 20 years of using their iconic white serif lettering on a navy background, last October, just in time for the holidays Gap decided it was time for an updated logo. They turned to New York agency Laird+Partners for the new look — a Helvetica font in black, resting on the corner of a blue square.

SPECIAL REPORTS

Feedback: Apparently not everyone loves Helvetica after all. From designers offering to create a new logo for free to denim lovers renouncing their brand loyalty, it seemed everyone with a Twitter account had a snarky take on the logo with the common consensus being: “I could have done that in Microsoft Word!” Result: Gap responded to the negative feedback with a Facebook post stating: “We’re thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding! So much so we’re asking you to share your designs. We love our version, but we’d like to see other ideas.” People began to speculate the whole thing had been a PR stunt or even a ploy to crowdsource a new logo, but less than a week later, Gap announced (again via Facebook) it was reverting back to the old design. The logo was both destroyed by and lives on because of social media. Months later, people still post on its many Facebook pages such as the “I hate the new Gap logo” fan page.

Original

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Rebrand

Case: Earlier this year, clothing retailer JCPenney also decided it was time to roll out a new look, but taking a cue from Gap’s failed update, they spent time publicizing the transformation. As part of their announcement, they explained that after offering the redesign pitch to company associates, design agencies and University of Cincinnati and Rhode Island School of Design art students, and reviewing the more than 200 entries, they had chosen University of Cincinnati third-year graphic design student Luke Langhus’s lowercase letters sitting atop a red box. Feedback: Although they share a box graphic and Helvetica font, causing some industry bloggers and tweeters to preemptively declare it to be another Gap fiasco, the Penney’s logo debuted to more favorable (and quieter) public reactions. Since the company had already stated the logo was designed by a student, one of the most common online insults had already been made void. Result: At just over a month old, the logo has surpassed Gap’s for shelf life, but the online chatter about the company also died down much more quickly, for better and for worse.

Original

Rebrand


#WIN

Starbucks

#FAIL

Tropicanat Coffee Case: When Tropicana teamed with Omnicom’s Arnell Group for a fresh-squeezed update, the changes went beyond their logo. The companies replaced the juice box’s traditional straw-speared orange with a modern, clean design consisting of half an image of a juice glass and literally turned the plump curved lettering of its logo on its side. Feedback: Hate may be a dramatic and overused word, but it also sums up the online reaction of the juice-drinking public’s brand critique. Blogs and Facebook posts were filled with an impressive number of consumers who used the words “I feel betrayed” to describe their reaction. Result: Although the Gap’s failed rebrand is on the forefront of everyone’s mind, Tropicana was also a recent legend in short-lived looks. After seeing sales plunge 20% in the roughly six weeks that inventory bearing the new brand was on shelves, parent company PepsiCo pulled all updated packaging and reinstated the old look.

Case: Just after the start of this new year, Starbucks announced that over the next few months, it would be rolling out an uploaded illustration dropping their company name from their 19-year-old logo and giving their smiling mermaid the full spotlight, taking her from a black background to the old logo’s green. Feedback: Starbucks lovers are notoriously finicky – any experienced barista will tell you that – but the brand’s fourth mermaid in 40 years didn’t cause much of a stir with loyal coffee drinkers. Opinions were split, but overall, most were dispassionate, ranging from the mundanely critical “Eh, looks pretty much the same,” to the calm appreciation for the “cleaner lines.” Result: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has been very clear in saying that the logo is just the start of a major brand expansion. With 2010 seeing an all-time high in fourth quarter earnings and plans to open 1,500 stores in China over the next four years, short of putting their name in Helvetica on a blue box, there’s really no way they could go wrong on this.

Original

Original Rebrand Rebrand

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CAREER MANAGEMENT SPECIAL REPORTS BRIEF 56

Top Consultants’ Offer Their Tips for Navigating Your Career

Whether you want to move up in your current field, switch industries or start your own business, managing your career can seem like a full-time job on top of your regular job. And in uncertain economic times, when you’re already performing extra responsibilities, often with no extra compensation, taking the time to strategize about your next big move when you’re just trying to keep the status quo can seem overwhelming. But in this ever-changing business, it’s more important than ever to keep yourself in competitive shape in order to continue your journey to the top.

While it would certainly be nice to have your own personal career counselor guiding you through every step, most of us don’t have the resources to realize that on an individual level. But from mentorship guidance to management feedback, there are a host of helpful resources available if you just know the right questions to ask. Shanna Green spoke with four executives who specialize in leadership, career and job candidate advisory to get their thoughts on how to move up within your organization, what to do if you’ve been downsized and why you shouldn’t just set your sites on that CMO title.


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Be clear on what you love doing. CAROLYN MEHRAN Founder and CEO Alliance Leadership

SPECIAL REPORTS

What are some of the keys to being a good leader within your organization? The best leaders convey a compelling vision and communicate how each person and team contribute to that vision. They regularly communicate and check-in to make sure people are aligned and are getting results. Good leaders are nimble in today’s ever-changing market, and demonstrate courage in making tough decisions and adjusting course. Communication and regular interaction with people is essential for good leaders, whether in one-on-ones, managing by walking about, team meetings or all-hands. What are some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to advance their careers? They think of advancement as “moving up the ladder” instead of growth, learning and development. Employees today need to look more expansively about their careers and look for opportunities to learn new

skills and have new experiences that will grow their capabilities and enable them to add greater value to the organization. What advice would you give to someone who has recently been downsized? Have an exit interview with your boss or other mentor who is familiar with your work before you go and ask him or her for an honest assessment of your performance and ask for advice regarding your next career move. Ask your boss or mentor to be a reference for you. Pause and take the time to define your ideal next step. Update your resume to best represent your past experience and desired role. Then, reach out to your network and leave no stone unturned! What is your best piece of career advice? Follow your passion. Be clear on what you love doing and create or find an environment to express your passion. It’s okay to not have it completely figured out at first, but continually move towards it until you arrive.

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Don’t be afraid to tell the truth. GARY SCHUMAN President CDL Consulting What are some of the main challenges people face in their careers today? There use to be clear career progressions, and some people think, “Well, I have to become a manager then a director then a VP.” And I think the whole thing about career ladders or career steps is changing. The biggest challenge is not focusing on a particular job, because that job might disappear, but it’s trying to figure out what skill sets you need to be successful with the way that the organization is evolving. Because a lot of times all of a sudden a marketing department disappears. If you are just aiming for a position, I think that really is a tragic mistake. So what are some ways that you can stay proactive to that rather than be reactive regarding downsizing? Some risk taking is critical. It is not recklessness, but it’s the ability to say there is something that the organization needs, and can I step out of my traditional locked stepped way of thinking and try to deliver a result that someone up above is going to go, “Wow! That was special.” The other thing I see a lot of, particularly at the midlevel, is people are afraid to make mistakes and afraid to take risks and afraid to speak up. That is a big mistake. I think people play it safer now than in the past. I think now, since there have been so many cuts, no one wants to stand out and be a jerk. But if you are always playing it safe, I don’t think you can stand out and be a star. What advice would you give to someone who has recently been downsized? Schuman: After you get done crying? Networking. But there is another piece to it: look at your skill set and say do you have the right skills for what companies are looking for now in your area? And to really brutally honest with yourself about that. It’s a tough self-assessment. The marketing area is shifting from traditional to digital, and people are having a hard time

making that shift. If you get laid off from a traditional job, rather than just going right back to what you know, to try to see if there is a different avenue to use your skills. A lot of it comes back courage, trust, authenticity. So, if you’ve been a marketing VP and you get laid off, maybe it’s not going right back to another network and trying to be a marketing VP. It is the willingness to be flexible and shift gears. Is there a different way of applying the skills that you have? Again, you have to be willing to take a little bit of risk. What are some other ways people can stand out and get ahead in their current positions? You have to produce fantastic results now. In a lot of ways, people are looking in the wrong direction. People sometimes are focused on the next job and not so focused on how do to deliver brilliantly in the current job. I think it is doing work and maybe asking for feedback. In other words, not being afraid to put your work out there and let someone critique it. Maybe it’s your boss or maybe it’s your boss’s boss, or being able to ask people for some honest feedback about what you are doing. I mean if it is brilliant, and someone goes, “Wow, wait a minute, this is really something,” that’s one thing. If it is not so brilliant, and they help you make it better, again, it’s a win. It takes some courage.

spring 2011

What is your best piece of career advice? Schuman: Don’t be afraid to tell the truth. Don’t whitewash; don’t cover it up. Tell the truth, particularly if you mess up. And if you tell the truth to somebody at the senior level, and they fire you because you told truth, it’s not a place that you wanted to work.

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Follow your heart. STEVEN SPECTOR Partner ML Search What really makes a job candidate stand out to you? Personality, passion, having an interesting story to tell. Someone who has really moved the needle, whether in their marketing, creative, programming or business successes. Someone who is a leader, who people want to work for and follow.

SPECIAL REPORTS

How would you advise someone who is looking to move up within their organization? Collaborate. Spearhead, but build coalitions. Be inclusive and transparent. Show leadership: set an agenda and pull people along with you. Take risks but do things the right way. Being labeled “tough to manage” can really be a problem. What are some the main challenges people are facing in their careers today? Keeping up. Remaining focused and clear. Thinking as a leader and delegating. Many companies do not train leadership or even foster it. This is often the case at media companies. People need to find opportunities to learn these skills. What are some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to advance their careers? Moving around too much or too soon. Taking a job because they feel they should take it, not because they want to take it. It’s important to show the ability to grow within

an organization. Successfully moving into management, or growing from being a manager to being a senior executive who manages managers and builds a team and runs a piece of business. Companies are increasingly large and matrixed, so demonstrating the ability to develop in an organization is essential. What are some ways people can take advantage of working in a down economy to make a positive impact on their careers? If they are in a down time and not working, consult for start-ups to learn more about diversified media and digital. But the economy is bouncing back, and the model of the past two years is quickly going away, so be aware that this question is changing and don’t be in a down economy mindset. Obviously there are big threats to traditional business models, but companies are focusing on evolving and growing their businesses. The fear and “batten the hatches” approach that started in late 2008 is no longer the driver. What is your best piece of career advice? Follow your heart.

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If you have five minutes left to live, and you think back on your life of what you did, what would you have done [differently]? MARIA CASO Certified Professional Coach (PCC) How would you advise someone who is looking to move up within their organization? I would ask them, where does your source of powerlessness stem from? Most people who want to move up are not actively doing [what they need to do], and they have a sense of powerlessness. So, what is stopping you from starting to take the action? Usually people say it’s fear or people don’t understand. There is a defense of powerlessness in organizations a lot of the time, because the culture in most organizations is not a transformative culture, which means that people are working as individuals in companies, not as teams within companies. [Prehistorically] human beings survived in packs, they stayed in the tribe, they stayed in groups. The moment you are an individual, you have no power and animals eat you and you get lost and you die. So, I would speak to the individual about what they are thinking, what actions they are taking, and what words are they using to really get to the next level. What is the focus? How much of a commitment do you have to get there? And how persistent are you going to be? If your thoughts and commitments are that you are going to make it no matter what, you need to create a strategy; you need to see what’s in it for the bosses to have you get to the next level. You are not going to get to the next

step just being who you are. You are going to get to the next step if you put out 125 percent of effort. With more and more business interactions being done over social media and sites like LinkedIn, do you think people are losing a important networking opportunity through face-toface interactions? Social media is very important in terms of letting the masses know how you are. Let’s face it, we are no longer an individual. The world has become a global one, and people have become a global through the internet, through Twitter, through Facebook. I think that social networking is extremely important in the scope of the world, but people need to see who you are and they need to get a sense of what your energy is, what you feel like, what your thoughts are. What is your best piece of career advice? If you have five minutes left to live, and you think back on your life of what you did, what would you have done [differently]? I promise you, I have never heard one person on their way out say, “I am so proud I worked so hard and made all that money.” I have only heard of the things they loved to do with their friends and family, and that’s what they think back on. They actually regret not spending more time or not taking the extra vacation or not leaving the job that they hated and started their own company.

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CAREER MANAGEMENT

NEVER STOP

LEARNING.

SPECIAL REPORTS

KNOW WHAT YOU

BRING TO THE MIX AND WHY YOU SHOULD BE A

PART OF THIS TEAM.

BRIEF 62


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PICTURE TUBE LAST LOOK Pictured left to right: (Row One) Mark Lipsky and John Young at the Emerging Media Workshop in Los Angeles; Kent Rees and Sarah Hamilton during the workshop hosted at Troika Design Group; Lucas Aragon and Gennifer Leong at the workshop. (Row Two) Promo Pathway mentee Fernando Castro at the mentorship program launch; Linda Abrams, Sean McCreary and Michael Ouellette at the Emerging Media Workshop; Andy Munsey meets his mentee at the Promo Pathway Mentorship Program’s launch. (Row Three) Industry Development Breakfast attendees mingle before the event. (Row Four) Industry Development Breakfast presenters Michelle Kramer and Liz Huszarik; Jonathan Block-Verk moderates the SXSW panel “The Future of Storytelling: DEXTER Fans Play Killer” with participants Marcelo Guerra and Howard Gold Krand in Austin; Alexia Raven at the breakfast event.

BRIEF 64


Pictured left to right: (Row One) MI6 awards judge Michael Griffin reviews an entry; MI6 judges Alison Hamon, Steven Rosenbaum and Brian Rekasis; Judge Matt Bretz examines an game case. (Row Two) Lucian Cojescu and Jill Lindeman at a PromaxBDA member event at the Geffen Playhouse; MI6 judge Oogie Lee discusses an entry; Rebecca Goldberg and Brian Wright celebrate the Promo Pathway Program launch. (Row Three) Promo Pathway students Hugo Lomeli, Shanita Murray, Ronald Williams, Jesse Preciado, Jennifer Monzon and Olivia Rodriguez. (Row Four) Karen Gutierrez welcomes members to he Geffen event; Katerina Zacharia, Bear Fisher and Jaime Klein at the Promo Pathway Launch; Angela Gardner and Chelsea McGee enjoy the launch party.

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SHUFFLE LAST LOOK Maryam Banikarim

Dominic Bernacchi

AFFILIATE Karlene Ball to promotions manager, WFTS. Akilah Bolden-Monifa to market communications director, KPIX. Mike Henry to VP, creative services, WTTG/WDCA. TJ King to creative services director, WAWS/WTEV. Ralph Rendon to VP, creative services and programming, KRIV. Dan Spangler to marketing manager, WLUK. Chris Wolf to director of programming and creative services, WJZY/WMYT.

NETWORK AND STUDIO Theano Apostolou to SVP, corporate communications and programming publicity, Starz.

Steve Lewis

Susanne McAvoy

Laura Carrillo to E VP, theatrical, bpg, from E VP, creative advertising, New Line Cinema.

Toni Lorusso to director, ad sales marketing, Hallmark Channels.

John Clausing to director of CGI, Manic.

Susanne McAvoy to E VP, marketing, Hallmark Channels. Sonya McNair to head of communications, CBS News. Jeanne Meyer to E VP, corporate communications, Current TV. Sara Niedz Kern to promotions manager, Turner Broadcasting.

Chris Grenier to creative director, BIGSMACK. Delores Hively to new business development and west coast representative, Brand New School. Mark Imgrund to editor, jumP. Steve Lewis to creative director, broadcast, bpg, from creative director, MTV Networks UK and Ireland.

Janet RollĂŠ to EVP and CMO, CNN Worldwide.

Christian Meoli to VP, marketing, Bigfoot Entertainment.

Josh Sapan to president and CEO, AMC Networks Inc.

Micah Scarpelli to editor, Nomad.

Amy Scanlan to SVP, business development and strategic partnerships, CBS Television Stations. Amy Winter to EVP and general manager, TLC.

Jeff Gregor to CMO, Turner Broadcasting.

BRIEF 66

Sharon DiTullio-Tepper to executive producer, audioEngine.

Rosie Pisani to SVP, marketing, WE tv and Wedding Central.

DESIGN AND PRODUCTION

Shannon Jamieson Driver to VP, consumer marketing, DIY Network.

Micah Scarpelli

Nicholas Lehman to president of digital for entertainment and digital networks and integrated media division, NBCU.

Maryam Banikarim to CMO, Gannett. Emily Christner to VP, marketing, TV Guide Digital.

Rosie Pisani

Dominic Bernacchi to EP, marketing and sales, Mothership.

Scott Tobin to creative director, product development, Trailer Park Advanced Content. Eli Weisman to senior director, Trailer Park Advanced Content. –As an experienced creative director, producer and writer, Kate Bacon serves as owner of Well Dunne! Talent and is the author of the only blog on entertainment marketing at http://welldunne.blogspot.com.


STATION SUMMIT ADVISORY COUNCIL

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VIEWPOINT

Why Augmented Reality Isn’t Ready for Integrated Branding By Matthew Szymczyk

Throughout the years, I’ve seen emerging technologies come and go in relation to interactive marketing. Inevitably, as a new technology gets all the press, I’m often contacted by clients who want to utilize it immediately in their campaign. Sometimes to grab quick PR, but more often than not because one of their competitors was using it for a competing product or campaign.

LAST LOOK

But utilizing emerging technologies and media can often be a double-edged sword – though you’re using the latest and greatest tech, there’s usually not any case studies or ROI you can look to in justification for the expense or baseline analytics. So what to do? Since 2001, I’ve faced the issue numerous times, even more so after 2007 when the digital marketing ecosystem continued to fragment. The problem? It was hard to claim to be an expert in digital marketing when new technologies were appearing almost weekly. So in 2009, my company made the decision that instead of being a “Jack of All Trades, Master of None,” we were going to focus on one key area – augmented reality. We believed this technology was here to stay and would be the future of interaction between humans and computers. As we started to develop our own software and use cases, we saw the hype in AR start to build, which was another problem that was evolving each day. When working with clients, it’s often hard to tell them no, when you’re almost guaranteed revenue. We’ve been faced with this dilemma more times in the last two years than we were in the previous nine. As brands get seduced by the ‘sexiness’ of AR, they often lose focus on their initial strategy. We’re seeing this especially in the mobile AR space now where brands see the promise of AR and immediately equate a concept video to being reality on a smartphone. That’s where we often have to spend quite a bit of time educating brands on the reality of AR. Mobile AR is not here yet and won’t be for a while. Forrester recently released a research report outlining the Mobile AR market and came to the same conclusion. Mobile AR is over-hyped and, there’s much more immediate opportunity in AR with more mature platforms such as web and kiosk. It’s not easy telling an eager client that Mobile AR isn’t ready yet, but we have to outline all the reasons why it’s not. There are multiple devel-

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Zugara’s motion capture- based AR Nesquick Factory Game for Nestlé

opment platforms (iOS/Android), battery life is an issue, smartphone processors are still not advanced enough to handle complex AR, smartphones only make up 9% of the overall mobile market and so on. So that often leads us to the question of, “Well, what can I do with AR?” For starters, it’s critical to outline the objectives of what you’re trying to use AR for – increase brand awareness, drive engagement, etc. AR is a great tool for enhanced consumer information that will help both increase awareness and engagement. Entertainment and gaming brands already know this and have been using AR over the last two years. Here are three key areas for web AR you need to be aware of: 1. Never use plug-ins or software downloads. Flash can be used to create an engaging experience, and consumers will not care about polygon counts. Once a barrier like a plug-in is required, brands will see significant drop-off from their AR initiative. 2. Always be social. Web-based AR allows you to tap into Facebook and Twitter to help use push/pull marketing techniques to have consumers share your initiative. 3. Make it fun! Using a marker or image to rotate a model was standard AR in 2009 – not 2011. Consumers are getting exposed to AR and want to have a more engaging and interactive experience. So always make sure you’re thinking through the consumer experience. ■ Matthew Szymczyk is the CEO of Zugara, a Los Angeles-based augmented reality software developer with an expertise in interactive consumer engagement strategy, and user experience design.


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Brief Spring 2011