PromaxBDA: News Image Promo Power

This is the fifth in a series of articles previewing the finalists in the 2013 PromaxBDALocal Awards competition. The winners will be announced at the PromaxBDA Station Summit on Thursday, June 27, in Las Vegas. This week’s category is General Branding/Image: News Station. The finalists are WTNH New Haven, Conn.; WMAQ Chicago; WNBC New York; WPIX New York; KWQC Davenport, Iowa; and CTV-BC Vancouver.

The PromaxBDALocal Awards General Branding/Image: News Station category includes any single video-based promotional material created to promote the brand image of a local news station or content platform.

In this market, a river runs through it.

The river is the Mighty Mississippi where it runs almost east to west, separating Iowa and Illinois at an area known as the Quad Cities of Davenport and Bettendorf (in Iowa) and Rock Island, Moline and East Moline (in Illinois).

Young Broadcasting’s KWQC, the NBC affiliate in Davenport, is the dominant news station in the market (DMA 99). But Eric VanWinkle, KWQC’s Creative Services and Programming Director, was concerned.

“A perception exists with some in the community that KWQC is the Iowa station, while our competitors were the Illinois stations.”

So VanWinkle chose an important part of his station’s coverage to set the record straight, weather. “You have to own weather in the Midwest,” VanWinkle says.


He created a completely animated spot using mostly After Effects.

“We wanted to do a spot that was upbeat, with a happy-go-lucky feel to it.”

When WNBC in New York (DMA 1) wanted to alert viewers about its mobile apps and social media choices, it too went with an animated spot driven by a very catchy song that says it all.

“People were singing it in the station. We had it running in taxis all over the city, and posted it on Facebook,” says Melissa Crawford, VP of marketing for the NBC O&O.

So how important is it for viewers and TV stations to keep connected everywhere they go? “It’s absolutely critical to be everywhere, so that when they’re not in front of their TV, you’ll still be their source,” Crawford says. “You have to be in the game.”

Crawford concedes that “no one knows how many Twitter followers or Facebook friends will give you a bump in ratings, the goal is that they have a positive experience with the brand on any platform, and when they are ready to sit down and watch TV, we’ll be top of mind. I’ll take viewers from any entry point.”

The song is called Touch by The Unknown, and the spot was created in After Effects using a plug-in called Element from Video Copilot.

Connecticut has had its fair share of state emergencies recently. Hurricanes, blizzards, nor’easters, and the school shooting at Sandy Hook.

“The market was weary,” says Paul Spingola, director of marketing and digital media for WTNH, LIN Media’s ABC affiliate in New Haven, Conn. (DMA 30). “Lots of people went above and beyond.”

To show viewers that “we’re all in this together,” the station created a spot honoring and thanking first responders.

“Our station’s brand is The Voice of the People. We stand up for those who are struggling, so this ‘thank you’ was very consistent with who we are as a TV station.”

All of the images were shot in-house using a Canon 5-D. Some of the shots were captured during an emergency training exercise.

“The first responder community was very appreciative, and they’re more receptive to our reporters.”

You create a 60-second news image promo with no talent, no news vans and no claims of getting breaking news first. In this promo, the city is the focus.

“We believe in it, everybody at the station embraces it,” says Jay Wadhwa, manager of creative services and brand marketing at WMAQ, the NBC O&O in Chicago (DMA 3).  

Wadhwa says the World of Chicago idea came from doing research into trying to put a face on their demo, trying to finish the thought of ‘Chicago is … what?’

“We found out our demo is a little bit of everybody, they come from all neighborhoods.”

Wadhwa said the spot is aimed at the heart. “We wanted to give people a feeling, to make a connection, to reflect the pride people have for living here.”

Featuring archival footage mixed with modern photography, the spot is entirely in black and white.

“The slow-motion, the black and white footage, is all deliberately done to create a mood,” Wadhwa says, “a feeling of nostalgia. People say they see something different every time they watch it.”

Editor’s note: This next entry was also a finalist in the Copywriting category and this review appeared in that category’s summary as well.

“We live in an area that moves fast,” says John Zeigler, VP creative for WPIX, New York’s Tribune Broadcasting-owned CW affiliate.

“But when Hurricane Sandy hit us, we were struck by how small town New York really is. We showed amazing heart. In this spot, I just wanted our viewers to tell their own stories that we are going to get through this.”

We Are One is part of the station’s overall marketing campaign.

“Our news product advocates passionately on behalf of our viewers. Like them, we’re scrappy fighters. After this spot aired, we got a lot of ‘thanks yous’.”

Editor’s note: This next entry was also a finalist in the News/Information Program category and this review appeared in that category’s summary as well.

You’re the new morning newscast in town — up against already established morning news programs. So what do you do to make your news team stand out from the rest?
“We promoted what they do best,” says Jim Olsen, promotion and creative services manager, at CTV-BC Vancouver, British Columbia.

And what they do best are traffic reports. “Vancouver has the second worst traffic congestion in North America,” according to Olsen.

The very eye-catching spot he created has no announcer, many three-frame edits and a cast of more than 100 people. Olsen says the timeslot showed a year-to-year share increase of 33% over the previous program.

The inspiration came from a spot his team saw on the Promax daily feed by an Israeli network for its version of Big Brother.

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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Sara Wright says:

June 26, 2013 at 8:53 am

the CTV-BC spot appears to be missing, we have 2 WPIX spots