Smash Branches Out

New Programming Division Makes ‘History’
BOSTON–Seeking to broaden its service offerings in a rapidly changing marketplace, Smash Advertising has launched a “programming” unit called Smash Television.
Led by senior vice president and creative director Rick Beyer, the six-person division produces short- and long-form video and film pieces that build client brands through noncommercial means. “Advertising and programming seem to be getting closer together,” Beyer said.
For example, the unit has developed a series of 60-second executions for A&E Networks’ History Channel, which also uses Smash as its creative shop for paid media. These “mini-documentaries,” featuring vignettes of world history, contain no overt sales pitch but look to frame the cable television network in a positive light.
The inserts have begun airing on about two dozen broadcast outlets nationwide, Beyer said. For example, WNBC-TV in New York uses the pieces to fill out its local newscasts. In return, the History Channel receives free commercial time on the station, Beyer said.
Smash Advertising, a 30-person shop in Boston known simply as Smash for about the last year, reverted to its previous name to draw a distinction between its ad and programming functions.
Beyer hopes to produce some longer documentary films with the new division while keeping a hand in the commercial side of Smash, which specializes in promoting media companies.
Beyer oversees ad development for NBC Sports and the History Channel, splitting his time between programming and advertising, he said.