PromaxBDA: Making A Great Program Promo

This is the third in a series of articles previewing the finalists in the 2013 PromaxBDALocal Awards. The winners will be announced at the PROMAXBDA Station Summit on Thursday, June 27, in Las Vegas. This week’s category is Program Promotional Campaign. The finalists are WOOD Grand Rapids, Mich.; WRAZ Raleigh, N.C.; KTLA Los Angeles; WCCO Minneapolis; CTV-BC, Vancouver; and Global Toronto.

The PromaxBDALocal Awards Program Promotional Campaign category covers any group of related video-based promotional material created to promote any program, series of programs, holiday, public service announcement initiative, program or channel related special events or day part/related programming at a station or content brand.

 When Milli Vanilli did it, it was scandalous. Well-known singers like Jennifer Hudson, Faith Hill and Britney Spears have been accused of doing it. But when a high school in Raleigh, N.C. (DMA 24), does it and does it well, their school could win $10,000.

Welcome to the WRAZ, Fox 50 Lip Dub Project.

“This is the third year we’ve done it,” says Kevin Kolbe, Capitol Broadcasting’s WRAZ creative services director for the Fox affiliate.

The schools create a video of students lip-synching to a song and send it to WRAZ, which posts it online, and then for one week, people vote which one is the best. The grand prize winning school gets $10,000 with $5,000 and $2,500 going to the second- and third-place schools. This year, 44 high schools submitted work. The contest is sponsored by the Goodwill Community Foundation and It’s OK to Ask, a youth suicide prevention program.

“In five days, we got more than 2 million votes,” Kolbe says. To see the winning entry, click here.


So how do you promote a lip dub contest? Create a lip-sync promo.

“One of my writer/producers, Phillipe Charles, wrote, produced and sang the song,” Kolbe says. “We lip-synched the promo using a cast of characters of friends, co-workers, staff, friends of friends.”

The spot is also a finalist in the Use of Original Music in a Promo category.

Lots of local television morning news programs want to claim they make their viewers’ mornings better. But The Morning Show on Global Toronto (Shaw Media) actually did make mornings better for some people in Toronto and they have the video proof.

“We wanted to do something that stood out to create awareness about a show that’s been on the air less than two years,” says Jackie Moss, brand manager for Global Toronto.

“We thought about how hectic and chaotic mornings can be for our core audience, and we wanted to do something that spoke to them.”

So street-teams decked out in The Morning Show-branded apparel fanned out across town to pay for people’s parking or cover their fares for public transit. One of The Morning Show’s host, Liza Fromer, took over a drive-thru and treated patrons to breakfast.

A contest asked viewers to write in and explain how The Morning Show could make their morning routine better. Rosey Edeh, another host on The Morning Show, surprised three winners at their home live during the show to award their prizes which included limo rides to school for their kids, in-home hair and make-up sessions, house-cleaning services, ready-made lunches and dinners and other perks.

To capture the authentic reactions of people, the production needed to be very simple — just go shoot what happens and edit it all together later.

Moss said viewership in their target demo of adults 25-54 was up 50% year to year.

You’ve got a big summer fair coming up that you need to promote. But you also want a new campaign for your meteorologist. So what do you do? Promote both.

“The idea was to promote the fair to increase attendance, but also to do something to enhance the weather image of meteorologist Michael Kuss,” says Jim Olsen, promotion and creative services manager of at CTV-BC Vancouver, British Columbia.

Meteorologists are scientists. They know how fast a raindrop falls, what happens when snowflakes collide or how a carnival game might be affected by the wind. 

That’s the premise behind this campaign from CTV that answers the question of how to promote your weatherman and a fair at the same time.

“We wanted to position meteorologist Michael Kuss as knowledgeable about the weather, almost geeky,” Olsen says, “so we tried to think of ways that tied the weather to the fair.”

The fair, the Pacific National Exhibition, takes place over 17 days in August and attracts more than a million people. CTV has been a sponsor for 11 years doing its daily weather forecast live from the fair in the 5 and 6pm news.

Being in a club has its benefits. And if you’re a member of the Daybreak club, the morning news at LIN Media’s WOOD-TV Grand Rapids (DMA 39), you’ll have access to information that will make your day better.

“Our news anchors were using the term ‘early club’ in their social media interaction with viewers,” says Matt Furguson, a promotions producer for the NBC affiliate, “so we decided to invite everyone to join the club.”

Created at a time when airtime was tight on the station due to political advertising, the campaign consists of 10-second spots. However, there are advantages of using 10-second spots in a campaign. It gives you the flexibility to get more impressions in a break as well as more opportunities to promote different facets of your morning news.  

When people think of mornings, certain icons come to mind. A cup of coffee, an alarm clock, even waffles. So why not make these icons into characters that interact with your morning news talent?

“We thought we needed to be bold and irreverent,” says Casey Kespohl, creative services director at CBS O&O WCCO Minneapolis (DMA 15). “We had some new faces on our morning news, so we wanted to drive sampling to our show.”

So where does one go to find full-sized alarm clock, coffee cup and waffle costumes?

“We found a local vendor that serviced the theater industry to make the mascots. The dollop of butter on the waffles can be moved around,” Kespohl says.

Local college acting majors are the mascots. During shooting of the promos, the mascots were encouraged to improvise with the talent, and in addition to making appearances on the morning news, all of the mascots have their own Facebook pages

At the risk of aging myself, I used to love watching The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits as a kid. The plots were creative and far out. There was little like them on TV at the time.

And one day a year in Los Angeles (DMA 2), you can watch an episodic marathon of both shows on the Tribune-owned CW affiliate  KTLA.

They appear “on Thanksgiving, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” says John Lovelace, KTLA’s manger of promotion and marketing, “We’ve done if for three or four years now. It’s just fun, easy programming.”

The fun part is also creating the promos. Lovelace and his staff combed through clips of the shows to find just the right bite or quote and then wrote copy to it. In other cases, they stripped the audio from the segment and inserted their own.

Market Share by Paul Greeley is all about marketing and promotion at TV stations and appears every Monday. Read other Market Share columns here. If you have some ideas or stories you want to share, please let me know. You can reach Paul Greeley at [email protected] or at 817-578-6324.

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