FX Launches Major Branding Campaign
FX will launch a multimillion-dollar branding campaign to herald its new marketing tagline: “There Is No Box.”
The News Corp.-owned cable network will roll out print and on-air ads showcasing the branding initiative starting next week. The ads include a 60-second spot airing just after the conclusion of the Super Bowl, which will air Feb. 3 on Fox.
The campaign, estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars, is the largest FX branding effort in the network’s 13-year history.
The initiative began about a year ago when FX President John Landgraf decided the network’s original programming was becoming diverse enough to support a universal marketing theme. With shows in production such as “The Riches,” “Dirt” and “Damages,” Mr. Landgraf felt the network had convincingly evolved beyond the initial success of its “white, middle-aged, male antihero” image created by shows such as “The Shield” and “Rescue Me.”
The trick was coming up with a label that captured the network’s darkly unconventional programming niche.
“We wanted to distill down to a mission statement the idea that creativity should be unconstrained and this notion of having shows that defied television cliches,” Mr. Landgraf said.
The result, the in-house-created tagline “There Is No Box,” means FX joins other cable networks with branding hooks such as HBO (“It’s Not TV, It’s HBO”), TNT (“We Know Drama”), USA (“Characters Welcome”) and TBS (“Very Funny).
The network has crafted 25 ads utilizing the line. Ads typically employ a series of “There Is No” prefixes, followed by various attributions that distinguish a show. For example, for “The Shield,” the ad reads “There Is No Loyal Sidekick” and “There Is No Case Closed” before concluding with “There Is No Box.”
To watch one of the new "Box" ads, see below:
“When networks do branding statements, it’s often about what the network hopes to be and stating aspirations for the future,” Mr. Landgraf said. “In this case, we’re stating who we have become.”
Mr. Landgraf said News Corp. will use the full weight of its empire to help support the campaign, though FX still had to pay full price for its coveted Super Bowl spot.
FX also will gradually shed its current logo, which shows klieg lights on the letters “FX.”
The logo will be replaced by a simple bolded FX nameplate. (see above)
FX has previously employed taglines, though not since the network started heavily investing in original dramatic programming. When the network launched in 1994, FX used “TV Made Fresh Daily” to emphasize its original daytime lineup. In 1997, FX used the tagline “Fox Gone Cable” to showcase off-network runs of “The X-Files” and “NYPD Blue.”
FX’s upcoming schedule is still in flux. The network will run its current season of “Nip/Tuck” through the end of February, but has not yet scheduled a date for the return of “The Riches” or “Dirt” (each of which completed seven episodes before the strike) or the much-anticipated final season of “The Shield” (which has finished production).
Mr. Landgraf said network strike schedules might provide an opening for “Dirt” or “The Riches” to return during the regular broadcast season instead of the summer.