NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In the last four years, Bravo has carved out an instantly identifiable on-air brand, complete with an oft-repeated tagline ("Watch What Happens"), signature blue talk-box logo and a knack for blog-able reality competition shows like "Project Runway" and "Top Chef" and docu-soaps like the "Real Housewives" franchise. It's a formula that's worked well. After all, even Lifetime wanted to poach the NBC Universal network's most successful show, "Project Runway," as a way to get a piece of the Bravo buzz.
To that end, Bravo is unveiling a new on-air look and a new tagline, "By Bravo," on June 23, to be unveiled tonight at a New York screening of the network's latest reality drama, "NYC Prep." The brand "refresh" was made in part to reflect the creation of Bravo Media in 2007, a venture that includes everything from Bravo's digital presence at BravoTV.com to consumer products and cookbooks. "The best way to describe is not a total face lift but a shot of Botox," said Frances Berwick, Bravo's general manager.
"In our world, things sort of go out of style and need renewal much more frequently," she continued. "We pride ourselves on being trendsetters, but we wanted to make sure the feel and look of our brand was as up-to-date and fresh as it could possibly be."
Bravo is coming off a healthy 2008-09 season, up 8% in total viewers in prime time and 13% among adults 18 to 49, its largest demo, according to Nielsen Media Research. Its ad revenue, however, was off 17.5% in 2008, to $166.7 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence, possibly reflecting the growing brand-integration dollars shows such as "Top Chef" and "Runway" attract but aren't measured by TNS. Speaking of "Runway," that show's departure has adversely affected the performance of its replacement, "The Fashion Show," which attracted 369,000 women 18-49 for its May 21 episode, a far cry from the 2.1 million women in the same demo who tuned in to "Runway" in an average week during its fifth season. (May 28 episode improved, drawing 662,000 in the demo.) The sixth season of "Project Runway" debuts on Lifetime in August.
The new on-air look will focus more on the Bravo viewer, dubbed the "affluencer" in Bravo's upfront pitches last year, a trendy, tech and media-savvy consumer with cash to spare. Vignettes will feature affluencers and Bravo talent interacting with what Trez Thomas, Bravo's VP-brand strategy, describes as a "conceptual toolkit," a scrolling list of lifestyle categories such as travel, fashion, food, life and web, all of which will become their own show-specific tagline (i.e. "'Top Chef,' food by Bravo").
"The concept is to express in the copy, whether it's 'Mondays by Bravo' or 'sizzle by Bravo,' to make us a tastemaker of whatever we do," Ms. Thomas said. "While other networks may have competition reality shows, you know we do 'Competition by Bravo.'"
Ms. Berwick said there will also be a place for advertisers in Bravo's flexible new tagline. "We definitely designed it so the way of integrating brands into the package would be very seamless," she said. "It will be more specific to shows as opposed to the overall brands, but that was definitely one of the initial elements that we asked from the design."
Assisting Bravo on the new design were Gretel Design for on-air production, Tanka for web design, Lilo Studio for print and digital and long-time agency partner Fallon for off-channel media.