cable tv is on the frontline of the rapidly changing media landscape.
in order to thrive, cable networks need to evolve. as the distribution model of the last several decades is turned upside down, part of this evolution is learning what behavioral traditions need to be adapted and which overthrown.
as part of the revolution, identifying and leveraging what makes a network attractive is key. as an example, when hal and i lead the jaguar cars brand turnaround for euro/rscg, we pushed all creative decisions through the filter of an S.P.S factor. if a communication didn’t enhance the brand’s sex, power, or status, we didn’t do it. prioritizing the S.P.S took the brand from old, bald, and boring to Gorgeous.
our task on bbca was to make the brand present and relevant in culture, and so we went about identifying the equivalent of an S.P.S factor for the network. what was their sexy attractor?of course the sexiest attractor a tv network can have is great shows. bbc america has that. so when they found themselves facing irrelevance — a common network issue in the current age of streaming services — it wasn’t a programming problem.
the network wasn’t cutting through. it wasn’t present or competitive where their fans were showing up.
the master bbc brand has strong equity for its quality programming, and is held in high regard as a cultural touchstone. but bbc stands for ‘british’ in america, and being british is no longer enough of a differentiator, nor enough of a reason to view a channel.
to cut through, the network had to align its offer to u.s. appetites and be where its fans are in a relevant way. to do that, first, the brand had to be there. the website is now a viewing platform, the mobile app is live and thriving, and the living room is open for guests. and the business chose to seize “the smart edge of pop culture,” embracing its innate intelligence along with a pop mentality in a way that’s savvy, switched on, and contagious, or, that has the S.S.C. factor.
a key motivator to this decision: today’s content travels around (if it’s successful, that is). it doesn’t stay on network air. It gets sampled on the internet, it gets shared. and when it does, you want fans to know it’s yours.
so the branding and its sexy attractors had to be embedded. inherent in everything about it to create buzz around the channel itself, not just the individual shows.
defining the “a” in bbca as “the smart edge of pop culture” articulated the shift the network needed to make, and shaped the new behaviors required to flourish in the changing marketplace.
it also highlighted the S.S.C. and the brand’s sexy attractor: music and the way they move to it.
the smart edge of pop culture is not a fixed state. it’s dynamic. responsive. kinetic and buzzy. active. bbc america is all of that too — its natural behavior is to make, play, socialize, connect, and move on.
the brand had to play more by the rules of music than the rules of narrative. it samples, remixes, loops. that’s pop culture.
playing it with knowing irony, that’s the smart edge of pop culture.