Saturday, December 1, 2007

Great spot!

I just love finding promos that are unexpected and break the mold.

The following is a spot from WBZ in Boston. I'm not sure this is exactly the way it aired, as the note on the side says something about slowing it down and adding music.

If anyone knows... let me know. If I'm not mistaken, the former CSD at WCCO(fast becoming my favorite promo shop in the country) is now at WBZ. Very creative work. Check it out.

Friday, November 30, 2007


A coworker and I were talking today and he starts telling me about this spot... one that I remembered as well. It was for the TBS miniseries "Moonshot", starring Barry Corbin. He explained the Apollo mission and I can't remember the wording but it was extremely well done.

It was one of the best promos I've ever seen(or that's the way i remember it now) -- I thought it was telling that two different people remembered a :60 commercial from back in 1994.

We've searched youtube and the internet and can't find it.

Do you remember this spot? Do you have it? A prize for the person who uploads it for me!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Two words...

... thank God.

November sweeps is finally over and I'm sure every promo department in the country is glad. Judging by the poll I did - most news departments continue to go into battle without a solid battle plan. Poor planning, poor stories and the fact that nearly every sweeps story has a "been there... done that" feel.

I used to love sweeps. I used to take sick pleasure in working like a mad man... coming up with ideas at 3am and in the end, coming up with some good spots and some good ratings. Maybe I'm getting too old for this crap. Maybe the situation is just different here.

I often wonder why many stations go into sweeps without a solid plan. But I think the answer is simple. News departments are at their best when they are doing daily news... breaking news... not news that's planned for weeks. Our news department is on their game during big, breaking stories. The station can really turn it on during big events. I should say we also had some decent sweeps stories as well.

I've worked for every kind of station. The one's that were well planned and actually had good material were the ones that won. KHOU in Houston was great... an amazing investigative unit, an A+ reporting staff and great management who understood what it took to win.

They also did what many stations cannot afford to do. They did a sweeps story, basically, every weeknight. It was called "Upclose" when I was there and it was a well produced, time invested piece that ran anywhere from 2-4+ minutes if needed. They have a reporter who only does work on Upclose. All the other reporters get to pitch in as well and work on stories that are not day of turns. Out of book they were interesting and teaseable... in book they were rocking. Not always... but they hit the mark day in and day out.

Not every station can do this. However, I do think just about every station in the country can do better in planning for sweeps.

Sure... today is a day to rest and lick your wounds.

Tomorrow should be your February planning meeting. Is your station already working on Feb?

Share your sweeps war stories below... along with any news stories that spiked ratings for you.

Lets go get em in Feb.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


In my last blog - I raved on a 50th anniversary from WBNS. The following is an article from our promo pal Paul Greeley on the spot. Thanks Paul!

The Best Local TV Station Promo? You Decide.
By Paul Greeley

There's probably not a more advertised product on TV than local TV news. In every market, 3 or 4 or more local TV stations vie for viewers, airing slickly-produced commercials about their talent, their technology or their content. Most local TV stations have on-air schedules that few national or local advertisers could match. Then when sweeps come, the exposure goes way up.
The question is which of these promos actually work?
Over the years, I’ve seen tens of thousands of examples of local TV station promos. I’ve written and produced more than a thousand myself. So I’m often asked if I’ve seen any one promo that I thought was the best. And while I’ve seen lots of terrific work, (and lots of not so terrific work); recently I saw a promo that, in my opinion, is one of the best local TV spots I’ve seen. And the good news is that this technique might work just as well for many local TV stations. The spot comes from WBNS, the CBS affiliate in Columbus, Ohio. Take a look.

Frank Willson, WBNS’s Director of Operations says, “the response has been amazing. In addition to the promo…the Marketing Department placed a lot of additional content online. They uploaded it on the WBNS-10TV You Tube channel and started a viral marketing campaign using Face Book, MySpace, and other social networking sites.”
Here are several reasons why I think this spot works.
First off, it’s a 60-second promo, and in :60 seconds, you have time to tell your story, and make an emotional connection with your audience. And very few other advertisers, except perhaps pharmaceutical companies, can afford to do :60s, so your message really stands out.
Secondly, I like the music. Not many local TV station promos feature a rock band performing on the roof of the station’s studio. Imagine pitching this idea to your GM?
“This one took a lot of trust from our President & General Manager, Tom Griesdorn,” said Wilson. “But he gave us his support to make the spot as good as it should be. Everything was shot using Sony HDCam and edited on Avid DS HD’s.”

What’s interesting to me about this spot is that it was conceived and executed by a 25-year old writer/producer, David Plantz, who also wrote the music and the song. Plantz says he got the idea of doing a heritage campaign while watching old Nickelodeon promos on YouTube.
“I thought that our viewers would make the nostalgic connection I felt watching those old kids’ promos.”
The song is original and fresh, appeals to young and old alike and when combined with the images, projects the electronic news gathering process as important and fun. And according to Plantz, it worked.
“We’ve gotten 200 e-mails about it, all positive. It’s been a wonderful success.”
Lastly and most importantly, one of the real strengths of the spot is that it uses carefully chosen examples of WBNS’ performance over the years in news, weather, sports, community and local programming to make the point that while times may change, WBNS’s contribution to its viewers and the community hasn’t. I think local TV stations often ignore their history. We often forget that while local TV station owners may come and go, the station itself has been an integral part of the city or town for so many years. Why not highlight the years of service your TV station has made to remind viewers of the long-standing contribution the station’s made to the community? If showcasing history and tradition is good enough for Mercedes Benz and Cadillac to sell cars, then it certainly will work for a local TV station.
At one point WBNS had a documentary on its web site about the making of this promo and WBNS’s anchor, Andrea Camburn, mentions that sometimes in local TV, “we forget to look where we came from, it’s fun to look back.” She goes on to say that she likes the spot because it “reminds people of our legacy here.”
Indeed, what kind of legacy does your station have?

Paul Greeley has over 20 years experience in local TV marketing and was recently the VP of Marketing for a top-20 broadcast company. You can contact him at or 817-528-2354.

Monday, November 26, 2007

50th Anniversary Promotion

When I first got to WESH-TV in Orlando, our 50th anniversary was right around the corner. I used it as a great opportunity to get to know our station and the people who built it into the station it became. I'm not a big history buff - but it was a lot of fun researching and talking to people about the station's rich history.

This weekend, Dave Plantz from WBNS sent me this great 50th anniversary spot. It made me jealous... extremely well done. Check it out:

After seeing it - it got me thinking about a couple of anniversary spots I have in my archive. Here is a very interesting one done by KXAS in Dallas several years ago:

And here are 2 fantastic spots from KING-TV in Seattle:

What do you think? I think the WBNS spot does a great job of not only highlighting the past but also showing off what the future will bring.