TNN keeps pop life under new moniker

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The National Network is launching its first full-fledged consumer marketing campaign under its new name since Viacom and CBS merged a year and a half ago.

The effort is valued at a hefty $25 million, including heavy placement on Viacom properties will go beyond TNN's own airtime. It extends to buys on other cable networks as well as CBS and UPN in 17 markets, along with outdoor and in-store advertising in Blockbuster Video stores. The goal is to formalize what TNN has been doing to transform itself into a broad-base entertainment channel full of mainstream drama and sitcom reruns. TNN is relying heavily on siblings to tell its story: CBS, UPN and Blockbuster are owned by Viacom.


After TNN was renamed last year from The Nashville Network, the cable network took on a new on-air branding strategy called "We Got Pop," aimed at highlighting its menu of diverse popular TV shows. High-profile program purchases such as the World Wrestling Federation's "WWF Raw Is War," "WWF Warzone" and "WWF Excess" helped the network move further in this direction.

The push, themed "The New TNN: America's Fastest Growing Network," focuses on its WWF programming, along with the shows "Baywatch," "Star Trek: Next Generation" and "Mad TV" in an effort to help launch TNN's new season beginning tonight.

One main TV on-air spot starts with a TNN logo animated as if it's a wrestler with no head and muscled arms. It is then smashed by The Rock, one of wrestling characters on WWF.

Clips from other TNN shows also appear, featuring Pamela Anderson from "Baywatch" and Kurt Angle from the WWF. There is no announcer in the TV spot but all its stars can be found saying: "The New TNN." This is one of 15 spots created by Dale Pon Advertising, the agency that came up with the "I Want My MTV" campaign. The TNN campaign runs through Nov. 15.

The network believes "The New TNN" plays into TNN's existing "We Got Pop" theme because it uses pop images of big wrestlers and suntanned lifeguards. "We're using pop culture, popular programming and pop icons," said Diane Robina, exec VP-general manager of TNN.

Promotional synergy from Viacom will play a big part. TV promos will be seen on sibling Viacom networks MTV, TV Land, Nick at Nite and CMT. In addition, TNN promos will be shown on sibling CBS and UPN broadcast stations in 17 markets, and outdoor will run in those markets as well.


Interestingly, TNN is buying advertising time for its spots on rival USA Network and its sister network the Sci-Fi Channel, which airs the original "Star Trek" series.

Simple big photo images are part of the outdoor campaign. There's a shot of the growling wrestler, Triple H, then a big plus sign, then a photo of Pamela Anderson. After an equals sign, we see the TNN logo, with the word "new" attached to it.

TNN has made big gains since becoming part of the Viacom/CBS family. Second-quarter 2001 primetime ratings rose 52%, according to Nielsen Media Research to a 0.96 rating from a 0.63 rating the prior year. The rise came chiefly from its acquisition of WWF programming.

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