Archive for the ‘networks’ Category

Write with 3 Balls

June 28, 2010

This year the Promax/BDA conference in LA brought in great speakers from around the world and smashed last year’s attendance numbers. We felt honored to be included.

We had a blast presenting “Write with 3 Balls” to the audience of marketing executives, and they returned the feeling. Loved seeing that SRO crowd. As promised, here’s what we showed. Enjoy and please let us know what you think!

[The presentation is packed with good stuff and videos–please give it a few moments to load up.]

Promax Presentation

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cooking lessons

June 22, 2010

Ever have an over-achieving sibling? Then you probably know that being born under the shadow of greatness can stink. Just look at Cain and Able, Jimmy and Billy Carter, or Marcia and Jan Brady.

My point is this, when one sibling is a star the other kids can have a tough time keeping up.

On the other hand when family dynasties work, they’re a thing of beauty; The Medici’s. The Kennedy’s. Venus and Serena Williams.

So when Scripps, parent company of Food Network, decided to birth a second channel dedicated to food and cooking, they faced more than the usual launch challenges. They had to find the sweet spot for viewers, advertisers, and affiliates, of course. But they also needed to create a sibling Channel to Food Network that carried a distinct personality without stealing Food Network’s thunder or encroaching on its loyal niche.

And they wanted to launch the network in five months.

It might have been impossible but Scripps put the seasoned pros from Food Network on the case; Michael Smith, Susie Fogelson, Patalia Tate, Katie Ilch, Joanne Harmon, and team. They knew to build Cooking Channel from the personality up. At the foundation was a distinct point of view, clear attitude, and language that resonated with the new audience.

Given our deep love of Food, and our passion for branding, being invited into the new network delivery room was a pinch-me moment for the Tooth+Nail team.  Early on we explored personality directions, clarified the target audience, honed in on a single voice, and crafted brand guidelines, language, and a tagline that captured the battle cry of all Food People, “Stay Hungry.”

Foundation in place, internal and external teams were off and running. The new network flourished: affiliate and ad sales marketing, graphics, packaging, the launch campaign, topicals, and the million other details. Creative partners included Leroy and Clarkson for the image campaign, Trollback and Co. for on-air graphics.

Enjoy the collected works of the Cooking Channel team. Think of it as a birth announcement. We’re so very proud.

Food Network, meet your younger sister, Cooking Channel. She’s so cute, and just the right kind of feisty.

the real work of brands

November 14, 2009

KliegLightReversed

Tomorrow I lead 25 TV executives through an all-day brand workshop in Dubai  at the DMI studios.

We’ve never met, but already I know this: they’re managers, directors, art directors, and producers. They’re young, creative, opinionated, curious, and ambitious.They’ll be shy at first, and open up as the day goes on. We will laugh and disagree, we may have misunderstandings.

By the end of the day, they will amaze me.

We spend a lot of time preparing our workshops:  pulling examples, creating exercises, and laying out the concepts that make brands work.

But the miracle always happens in the team work. When the language of the day isn’t job titles or meetings. It’s ideas. When people jump in and try things out. When they don’t fear failure.

What will amaze me tomorrow? I can’t wait to find out.

What’s your best workshop experience?

let’s talk

October 23, 2009

Nyc_transit_authority_token

We’ve talked about conversational writing. Now, let’s talk conversation. Part 4 of our Write With Balls session (from Promax/BDA) is all about getting the dialogue going.

Imagine running to a train when, suddenly,  other commuters break into a fox trot. What would you do? I’d take a picture and call my friends. That’s what T-mobile hoped for–and they turned it into a viral video that circled  the globe.

January 20th. I was sitting in front of the TV, laptop open and, while several million huddled together  in the Washington,  I was with all my friends watching the event with CNN and Facebook.

It didn’t matter that all the comments flying by were just a virutal version of “Can you believe this is happening?”

The ability to connect with my friends and strangers made a great moment even more memorable. And it was a perfect fit for CNN’s brand.

Finally, this spring, I felt like the world had taken a weird turn when I saw this video on youtube. But of course it was part of another massive plan. This time for True Blood, a revolutionary and virtual ad campaign.

Shared moments,  virtual moments, vampire moments: They’re different sides of the same subway token. Kind of crazy, totally exciting and here we are with the best seat in the house, witnessing this new frontier.

What’s your favorite shared moment?

uncorking ideas

October 15, 2009

It’s spring in Johannesburg and if that’s not enough to put a smile on my face, new friends and fantastic wine does.

Preparing another session of Write With Balls, this time for Promax/BDA Africa and I turn on the TV. What’s on in the southern hemisphere? Plenty of channels and a familiar line-up; Discovery, Nat Geo, Cartoon, and CNN. But I watch for the ads.

So, how does Coke talk to its customers? With music of course. There’s a detergent for doing laundry in a bucket vs a washing machine.

Plus ads for a very special kind of bra. Well, not exactly a bra — something you wear over a bra. These print ads show you what you need to know.

push_up_bra

push_up_store

More from Jo-burg in a day or two. In the meantime do you ever turn the TV on when you travel, if so what do you like? I once saw a game show in Italy that was over the top. You?

SouthAfrica

mini miracles

September 2, 2009

image1

Discard beverage. Take off shoes. Slide computer through xray. Purchase identical beverage a moment later. Board plane. Squeeze computer bag and body into seat. Endure not-so-solitary confinement for hours marked by B movies, salty snacks, and a shortage of fresh air.

By the time custom forms make the rounds and the landing gear has settled, you are under a spell, some metaphysical abracadabra. Poof, a new world is outside the terminal doors: Singapore, Mumbai or Kuala Lumpur.

image_bollywood

So many fresh ideas on the other side of the puddle: a different way to deliver lunch, a solution to collecting trash, or package milk. Sometimes dull becomes delightful.

Consider the mind-blowing technique of Keith Loutit, an Australian film maker.

Loutit shoots real life and turns it into miniature. TV1 in Australia was sharp enough to hire him for their image campaign. Magic.

learn the lingo

July 14, 2009

We’ve got a slew of writing tips, but it’s summer and everyone deserves to chill.

So we’re enjoying long days and dolling out our tips nice and slow.

Pull up your chaise and schmear on some sunblock. Part 3 of our Promax/BDA session follows:

Mojito-005-de1

We spell it out for you:

B=begin with personality

A=apply attitude

L=Learn lingo

L=Let’s Talk

S=Stay sharp

Picture 10

We start with the smartest, most basic tip of all:

Write like you talk. Yeah, just like that.

Short, incomplete sentences. Colorful language. Simple words. That’s how you and your buddies talk. And when you put that lingo into a spot, an ad, or on your website, it pulls folks right in. Whoosh, like magic.

Here’s a cool guy spot for Ocean’s 12 from USA Network.

Love that line, “Try to keep up.”

And here’s more real talk, from History. Epic footage, sure. But Chris Moseley and her team were smart enough to let a simple sound bite tell the story. And, by the way, they share a nugget of info we bet you didn’t know.

So, what’dya say?

Try writing like your viewers talk, not like an ad. Make it real, or make yourself another Mojito. Either way you’re likely to start a conversation.

Got a favorite straight-talking spot? Let us know.

How about a favorite summertime drink? Buy this round and we’ll get the next.

Cheers

begin with personality

June 23, 2009

We gave a session on brand personality and writing at the 2009 North America Promax/BDA conference last week.

The conference was terrific and our morning session was SRO for the second time in as many years. Think the a.m. crowds were hoping for free cappuccinos? Note to conference committee, next year larger room and Barista. Nary a tomato was thrown. In fact, the crowd wanted more. Actually they wanted a link. So, due to popular demand and the bing of our blog here are some highlights.

Part one.

Picture 10

In the future, everyone will have balls.

We will have them. You will have them.

By balls, we mean personality. First, a quick question. Do you have a personality?

Please watch the following.

Did you find either one funny? Phew. You do have a personality.

Personality is what makes us distinct. It’s  how we relate to each other.

And the root of personality?

Personality.

All media is becoming more personal.

And so are brands.

Ever wonder what the opposite of balls, or personality, looks like?

Voila.

BUDWEISER

Those old ads make us laugh because they’re devoid of personality. Everyone is too perfect, and perfect just isn’t human.

Perfect balls.

So, when you’re filling out your creative brief, forget  “engaging, upbeat and likeable.”

Think cranky teenager, like Adult Swim.

Or . . .fun loving predator,

Shark

Or bitch.

PerfectBitch

Remember, you’re the mastermind of your brand’s personality.

When it comes to Network brands, their balls are in your court. Proof positive your job is more fun than being a massage therapist.

For a copy of the entire session and some unforgettable (but liscensed spots) check with Promax/BDA.

If you would like information on our critically acclaimed workshops on brand personality, writing and creativity, click here.