Fox Family Grows Up With BBDO

With Halloween fast approaching, a new branding and tune-in campaign created by BBDO West for the Fox Family Channel shows in part that the cable network can be a little horrifying when it wants to be.

The Halloween promotion, including creepy-looking print ads, was created to tout the network’s current horror show fest, dubbed “13 Days of Halloween.” It is also tied to the 2-year-old network’s first national image campaign.

Fox Family quietly tapped the San Francisco agency in June to help emphasize programming not aimed strictly at kids, particularly in prime-time and late-night dayparts. The ad budget was not disclosed.

Patty LaVigne, Fox Family’s senior vice president for on-air promotions, said BBDO was chosen for the job because it “spent the time to understand who we are.” The ads project just the right amount of humor and warmth, she added.

The umbrella campaign, which broke in mid-September, uses the tagline “Grownups are people too.” It includes two 30-second TV spots that take a tongue-in-cheek view of what life would be like if kids ran things.

One spot playfully mocks highbrow new-car ads to show what a set of wheels might look like if designed by a 9-year-old girl. The serious tone is shattered as the viewer is treated to a car built to look like an oversized bunny rabbit. The ad uses the line “Ever feel like kids run life? At Fox Family, the grownups are still in charge.”

The ads are slated to air on Fox Family and its sister networks, as well as The Discover Channel, The Learning Channel and Lifetime.

BBDO’s executive vice president and general manager, Steve Goldman, said the network contacted the agency in the hopes of building a unique image-building campaign. “The chemistry was great,” he said. “This is a very important account for us because it allows us to do what we do best and that is creative.”

David Tessler, BBDO’s senior vice president and associate creative director, added that the challenge was to demonstrate that the network has strong appeal to adults but is neither offensive nor inappropriate for family viewing.

“We were trying to show that this is a network that adults will want to watch but they will not have to reach for the remote control when their kids walk in the room,” said Tessler. “The reaction from Fox Family has been very positive.”