Category Archives: marketing

OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Reveals Vivid New Logo


OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, launches on 1.1.11 and has officially revealed the new logo. I’ll be bringing you a comprehensive look at the new on-air look including the multi-platform brand launch in the coming months. Until then, what do you think?


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Discovery/Hasbro Unveils Newest Kid Channel Brand, The Hub


Nearly 18 months ago, I first brought you some early news from the States regarding The Hub, the just developing Discovery Communications/Hasbro joint venture that would rise like a phoenix from what was once Discovery Kids. After a $300M investment from Hasbro, the venture would be led by widely respected CEO Margaret Loesch who describes the channel as, “a fun and transformative destination that brings kids and their families together by presenting clever stories and engaging characters.”

The Hub Logo Exploration

From a brand development perspective, what began as simply The Hub’s logo exploration, expanded to include strategy through execution, creative strategy, on-air packaging and advertising for appointed agency Troika. The brand strategy is brought to life in the network’s logo, called ‘Hubble,’ a fun bubble-like shape with unlimited possibilities as it unexpectedly transforms into anything it desires. The Hubble is featured prominently in all of the creative executions, including nine animated network IDs.

Billed as a multi-platform joint venture, the rebranded channel will leverage its significant heritage from Discovery Communications while adding the commercial edge it needs to compete with the likes of industry heavyweights Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

The Hub Launch Campaign

If you’re interested in some early launch numbers, click keep reading…

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CBS to Launch 3 New TV Channels in India


US broadcast giant CBS is planning on launching 3 new English language pay channels in India. The venture (in partnership with Reliance Broadcast) is codenamed ‘Big CBS Networks’ and will leverage CBS’ vast library of english language shows including new CBS shows such as Hawaii Five-0 and The Defenders, syndicated programs like Entertainment Tonight and favourites like Everybody Loves Raymond, CSI, and NCIS.

India is the world’s second-largest pay TV market by viewers after China, with 105m households signed up to terrestrial analogue cable, satellite and digital networks. My contacts at the CBS/Reliance team have confirmed that the new channels will be named

  • BIG CBS Prime, a general entertainment channel
  • BIG CBS Spark, aimed at younger audiences
  • BIG CBS Love, geared toward the female demographic
There are an estimated 134 million homes with televisions in India, with more than two-thirds having access to cable or satellite signals. Total television revenue was about $5.7 billion last year according to a KPMG report.
I’d be interested to see a bit more channel work out of India, so if you’ve got recent broadcast branding packages from that region, please do drop me a line. Coincidentally, 2011 marks 60 years of the iconic CBS eye logo. Here’s a nicely assembled video retrospective on the history of the logo for those interested.

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A Brief Guide To What Marketers Want From Their Agency (Part 1)


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Guest Commentary By Tom Lucas
Director of Marketing & Communications, UKTV

Don’t Sell Yourselves

  • A confession: Most of us clients get quite bored sitting through credentials presentations.
  • We’d rather talk about ourselves. Or make sure you understand what we’re looking for.
  • The best way to win our business is to take a greater interest in and ask more questions about our problems than anyone else.
  • Listen as if for a pin to drop.

Be Externally Referenced

  • Spot new stuff and tell us about it.
  • Most of us are profoundly uncool. We spend evenings feeding babies, and watching telly with Simon Cowell in it.
  • Put your army of hipsters to work. Cross pollinate the learnings from your clients.
  • Expose us to the great stuff you’ve seen at Cannes. Buy us the D&AD Annual.
  • Help us dare to be cooler.

Know Your Limits

  • Not every business problem is a communications brief.
  • Sometimes we clients get desperate, and outsource the problem to someone we can kick if it goes wrong.
  • If you don’t think you can help- tell us. We’ll respect you in the morning.

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Strictly Come Dancing (UK) VS. Dancing With the Stars (US)


When Strictly Come Dancing hit the record books last year as the “world’s most successful reality show”, it was only a matter of time til we devoted an article to the cultural phenomenon that has swept the world’s curiosity.

The BBC Worldwide produced show has been exported to 30+ countries around the globe (with the first being Dancing With the Stars – Australia). In India, the series is known as Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, while Norwegians can’t get enough of Skal vi danse.

While the shows follow the same general format, the graphics packaging, promotion, and title design of each show illustrates some interesting cultural differences.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the title sequences from the American offering of DWTS that airs on ABC:

And Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One:

Further, take a look at the on-air promotions approach to the franchise. Again, one from the US, the other from the UK.

As you know, I’ve been a big proponent of exporting our unique regional (national) design sensibilities to the global design marketplace. This discussion offers an opportunity to ask: How does the design and branding of our shows reflect the cultural DNA of the countries in which they are presented? Share your thoughts.


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BBC/Discovery’s Epic Nature Series, Life


BBC’s nature documentary Life seems to be all that my nature aficionados/friends talk about. Maybe it’s because the landmark series is so captivating that it stays on a constant loop on their plasmas. Regardless, the 11-part Oprah narrated Discovery Channel series (followup to the successful Planet Earth) has fascinated millions. Incidentally, the British & Canadian versions were written and narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

The latest US on-air campaign on Discovery Channel showcases some incredible footage from nearly three years of filming, involving 150 shoots on all seven continents. Here’s a spot from National Television that flexes a bit of the much talked about (and pioneering) stabilized helicopter-mounted cameras.

A bit of history on this project. Life was the first series commissioned by the then Network Controller of BBC One, Peter Fincham, just weeks after he took up the post in 2005. It was reportedly one of the most expensive documentaries ever ordered by the broadcaster, with a budget of £10 million. The UK series opening titles/brand imaging was handled by Burrell Durrant Hifle. The UK and US on-air campaigns differ significantly, and include a number of television firsts. The series was Executive Produced by the incredibly talented (and funny) Mike Gunton.

For those interested in what the next BBC and Discovery collaboration will be? Human Planet, which will be out next year. It’s about how indigenous people cope with survival in some of the really harsh habitats of the planet.

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USA Launches New In-House Creative Agency


Breaking News: It was confirmed during USA’s recent 2010 Upfront presentation, that indeed the top rated cable network has launched a new in-house creative agency called Character Brandworks. The focus of the new think-tank offering is designed to help clients (advertisers) identify the face of their brands, much like the successful effort that yielded the highly successful Characters Welcome campaign.

“This is a team of people who come together to visualize the character or characteristics of your product and then build a solution around it,” Chris McCumber EVP Marketing, Digital, and Brand Strategy explains. “USA has been so adept at creating associative links between its on-air characters and the consumers who make up its audience that it can just as easily devise similar connections between sponsor and character.” It remains to be seen if the creative agency will eventually evolve into a production and brand creative solution for other networks.


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