UK: Following the announcement of Sky & HBO’s multi-year output deal in July, Sky began the briefing process for the brand positioning of Sky Atlantic. Known colloquially as “the home of HBO in the UK”, the flagship entertainment channel officially launched yesterday with an impressive starting lineup including Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire and You Don’t Know Jack with Al Pacino and Susan Sarandon.
In a bold move to challenge primetime terrestrial heavyweights, Sky is capitalizing on a clear gap in the market. Buoyed by an impressive year, the heart of the channel is powered by exclusive HBO content, including award winning dramas like The Wire, comedy mainstays like Curb Your Enthusiasm, and off-HBO hit Mad Men.
Here’s a look at the Sky Atlantic Pre-launch :60 trail, starring Dustin Hoffman
Working a parallel umbrella branding course with talented in-house agency Sky Creative, London-based Heavenly secured the high-profile assignment six months ago, and was challenged to “develop a premium, intelligent and influential entertainment brand within the Sky stable to challenge the likes of BBC2, Channel 4 and More 4”.
Sky Atlantic Ident “Bridges”:
The proposition needed to be versatile and future proof to accommodate the evolution of the content to include UK as well as US programming. It also needed to “look and feel stylish, cool, immersive, smart and engaging, whilst not becoming too niche”.
Sky Atlantic Ident “Bright Lights”:
Following a detailed brand audit, Heavenly developed a positioning based around the discerning target audience, but with an irreverent spin. A deep, immersive and intelligent experience with culturally defining, premium content.
Sky Atlantic Ident “City Cab”:
As well as expressing the brand positioning, the name needed to be future-proof to accommodate the eventual introduction of UK content. Sky had traditionally used a functional naming strategy, but the nature of this proposition demanded a broader scope. Nevertheless, the new channel brand still had to fit alongside the existing Sky portfolio. There was an opportunity in the market to create a brand name with style and stature and an understated confidence that reflected and reinforced the content experience.
Five naming areas were explored: Intelligence, Icons, Americana, Premium and Destination and a shortlist of 20 names selected and validated for linguistics and trademark availability. Sky Atlantic was chosen as the channel name because of its understated iconic stature and the perfect link it provided between the channel’s US and UK influences.
The Sky Atlantic visual identity idea was based around the positioning and inspired by the brand name. The creative thought “Bringing Cultures Together” plays off the Atlantic as the membrane between the US and UK. The idents explore and celebrate the similarities and differences between the UK and the US by splicing elegantly between two iconic locations. Filmed in LA, New York, the California Desert, London, Kent and Newcastle, five idents and supporting bumpers were produced for launch: “City Cab”, “City Nights”, “Café”, “Train” & “Bridge”.