Building ABC Attitude

By Kathy Tyrer

LOS ANGELES–TBWA Chiat/Day will concentrate on developing an ‘attitude’ for the ABC Television Network via on-air promotions as it takes on the $40 million account.

The agency’s Venice, Calif., and New York offices won the business last week in a review that included incumbent Grey Entertainment, Fallon McElligott Berlin, Merkley Newman Harty, all of New York, and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.

The assignment includes image work, strategy and positioning for ABC as well as on-air and off-air program promotion for all dayparts. The shop will also handle media buying.

‘The overriding issue is the tremendous amount of time they spend on their own network talking about themselves and their shows, and (how to) use that to build a brand and and attitude,’ said Bob Kuperman, president and chief executive of TBWA Chiat/Day North America.

The shop advised ABC executives that the network should not look or sound like a network in its promotions. Viewers cannot remember network slogans and on- air promotions prompt channel changing, agency research has found.

‘If you took the amount of time the networks spend on on-air promotion in relation to what that would cost in media dollars, they’d be among the top advertisers in the U.S.,’ Kuperman explained. ‘When you have that much time, you should be building a brand.’

‘TBWA Chiat/Day’s strategic approach and inventive, ground-breaking creative positioning won us over,’ said Alan Cohen, ABC executive vice president of marketing. The date for TBWA Chiat/Day’s first work for ABC to break has not been determined yet.

The agency helped launch Fox Broadcasting Co. 10 years ago.

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