'TV is [still] good' for ABC, but new tag emerges in ads

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ABC is evolving its couch potato-friendly "TV is good" theme with new creative to be unveiled the week of June 14.

In spots on a tape obtained by Advertising Age, four :30s carry the theme line "United we watch." They are said to be part of a bigger marketing push.

TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., is the agency on the estimated $50 million account.

Branding spots begin running this summer, followed by ads promoting specific shows in the new fall lineup, according to an executive close to the situation.

BROUGHT TOGETHER BY TV

Some summer spots show how people are brought together by watching TV. Two of the four new commercials feature people watching TV together; each group reacts differently to the same program. In one spot, young and old sports fans react with excitement or disappointment over an "NFL Monday Night Football" game.

The other two spots, shot documentary-style in b&w, show everyday street scenes that suddenly freeze on two people. A cartoon bubble appears between the two, with flip retorts such as "Blew off date to watch 'The Practice.' "

The bubble appears in the familiar bright yellow from TBWA's first campaign for the network.

ABC bills itself in the end frame as "America's Broadcasting Company" instead of American Broadcasting Co. The change is meant to highlight ABC's attempt to be the U.S.' preferred network as cable continues to erode broadcast viewership.

NO. 3 IN PRIME TIME

ABC finished third in the prime-time 1998-99 season with 11.8 million viewers, Nielsen Media Research says. CBS was first with 13.1 million and NBC second with 12.7 million.

In November, ABC considered hiring a consultant to help with its branding ads. Part of the problem with the original work was that industry pundits hailed it as breaking new ground but panned its effectiveness. However, the "TV is good" line will remain a component in the fall schedule.

ABC and the agency declined to disclose details of the effort.

The TBWA/Chiat/Day creative director on the campaign is Jeannine Chanin, hired from former ABC agency Grey Advertising in July 1998. She was brought on specifically to help advance the "TV is good" effort.

Copyright June 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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