Sunday, December 21, 2008

Branded A Fool

The title of this post comes from a part of a song lyric from the movie Grease and sums up the topic of this post perfectly.....I think.  Maybe.

A few weeks ago when Daffy and Stephen were here, we were watching tv and came upon some adverts for shows coming up on the USA Network and they all ended with the voice over guy saying "characters welcome". 

Quite reasonably, Daffy asked what that meant.  I had no idea and it was then forgotten about.

Now USA is not a channel I really watch but just a few minutes ago I came to it again and sure enough, I heard adverts for forthcoming shows ending with "characters welcome". This time I had my laptop to hand and decided to find out what it was all about.

What I discovered was a Press Release from the USA Network that makes me reconsider if English is still my first language. I could REALLY have done without understanding the individual words in this Press Release because when put together like this, they make me think I missed a few years at school; the years when advanced English BS was being taught.

Turn off all distractions, find a comfy armchair and try and follow this................

For the first time in its twenty-five year history, USA Network is launching a comprehensive branding initiative extending across all media, including on-air, off-air and online platforms, [as] announced today by Bonnie Hammer, president of USA Network… The campaign…features a new logo and the tagline “Characters Welcome,” a statement that will reflect and inform every aspect of USA, from marketing and promotion to program development.
“When we started developing a brand strategy we knew we wanted it to be enhancing rather than limiting,” said Hammer. “We didn’t want to tack on a meaningless tagline or claim an arbitrary niche or demo. I believe we’ve succeeded in developing a campaign that’s organic to USA, something that captures and communicates what the network is about, what lives and breathes on its air.”
"In talking to our viewers and realizing what they loved best about USA, we realized that there was real connective tissue around the concept of strong, relatable characters,” added Chris McCumber, senior vice president, marketing and brand strategy. “‘Characters Welcome’ delivers a clear message that establishes an immediate emotional connection with our audience.”
“The beauty of our new brand is that it truly embraces everything we do,” said Hammer. “Whether it’s an obsessive compulsive detective like Monk, the tormented returnees of the 4400 or a real-life action hero from the WWE, it’s the compelling, sometimes complicated, often funny characters that make USA Network what it is.”

The part that really got me was "we didn't want to tack on a meaningless tagline."

Hmmmmm and yet, you know what ?  Y'kinda DID.

But then what do I know about advertising and branding ?  I don't understand most of the UK tv adverts for Guinness for example but they get noticed, talked about and even appear on YouTube.  A fish riding a bicycle across the screen ?  Yeah that makes me want to rush out and buy a crate of Guinness. Not.

But wait now.  I'm discussing Guinness after all.  Isn't that what advertising is all about ?  Getting your product 'out there'.  

So maybe they're not such fools at USA after all.  I'm sure I'm not the only person thinking about "characters welcome" after seeing the ads.  Yes it may piss me off and annoy the hell out of me but lets face it, I'll always remember which network they appear on - and in the land of tv viewing figures and brand recognition, they've maybe got a winner.

But these things can go either way and so despite their cunning connective tissues and their organic emotional connections, I'll be avoiding the USA channel in future. But at least their branding inititive worked for me because I'll always KNOW why I'll be avoiding it !!


Daphne said...

And to think that I thought it was just some marketing rubbish - - er, now I KNOW it is! And the voice-over said it in such a dull way, too, as though it was "terms and conditions apply". Marketing BS meets Silverback, a Man With Ferocious BS Filter - - hence, a most enjoyable post!

Jennyta said...

Errr, yes - I think!

rhymeswithplague said...

What rubbish! (theirs, I mean, not yours -- yours isn't rubbish, yours is "spot on," as they say).

Debby said...

I think I HAVE to get you out of the house more!!!

rhymeswithplague said...

Ian, I hope you had the merriest of Christmases and are having the happiest of Boxing Days, if you observe either or both of them.

Keep on bloggin' in '09!

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