In Depth

New Promo Campaign Touts TNT’s Dramatic Credentials

Stars of Series Play Off ‘We Know Drama’ Slogan

TNT is launching a new promotional campaign and revamped on-air graphics to highlight its plans to increase original programming to three nights by next year.

The changes are the first since TNT debuted its “We Know Drama” tagline in 2001.


Back then, the network needed to tap movie stars to convey the message. Now it has big stars from its own series to appear in spots, including Kyra Sedgwick of TNT’s top-rated “The Closer” and Tim Hutton, whose new show “Leverage” debuted Dec. 7.

The spots up the ante on the slogan, adding emotion-invoking verbs to the basic message. The cast members of its series are linked to lines such as “We Know Drama Inspires,” “We Know Drama Captivates” and “We Know Drama Surprises.”

“We feel that TNT is the epicenter of drama now and we want the consumer to understand that there are all these different benefits when you watch good drama,” said Jeff Gregor, chief marketing officer for TBS, TNT and TCM.

The marketing campaign is part of an evolution that has put TNT among the leaders of cable networks commissioning original shows to pull in more viewers.

TNT was the No. 2 ad-supported cable network in the third quarter, with an average of 2.4 million viewers in prime time. That compares with a prime-time average of 1.7 million viewers in 2001, when the We Know Drama campaign was launched.

TNT did not run any brand promotion this year, only ads for specific shows. That will be changing.

“We’re going to have a separate allocation for on-air [gross ratings points] dedicated to the brand campaign,” Mr. Gregor said. But the new graphic also will be baked into the promotion of specific shows.

He said the budget for the campaign was being determined, but noted that in the current tough economic times, “We’re going to be smart. We’re going to be very efficient. We’re going to leverage our media appropriately.”

In the new campaign, the network also uses a glowing, animated version of the circle from around the TNT logo—now tinted gold, or sometimes silver—to highlight dramatic moments.

“When any good dramatic moment occurs in real life, people form a circle around that action, and we figure we had the logo, which encircles all the dramatic entertainment that we put on the air,” Mr. Gregor said.

The spots were shot when TNT had five series in production: “Closer,” “Saving Grace,” “Raising the Bar,” “Leverage” and “Trust Me.” The casts of the series took part in scenes that would fit both the show and the circle concept.

For now the campaign is designed to emphasize original programming. As new shows go into production, segments for the campaign will be shot and rotated into the campaign.

“As we ramp up to the start of our summer series, we’ll have more of this campaign on the air to illustrate the big summer launches that we’re going to have in early June,” Mr. Gregor said. That includes the return of “Raising the Bar,” “Saving Grace,” and “Closer.”

For now the campaign does not incorporate the network’s acquired off-network drams such as “Law & Order.”

Nor does it incorporate sports programming, such as National Basketball Association or Major League Baseball games. But elements of the design will be incorporated into sports coverage.

“We always want to have a seamless creative look on the air,” Mr. Gregor said. “It’s not like sports will marry or copy this type of campaign, but there will be pieces of it from the tool kit that they will use to make sure the creative looks seamless.”

TNT’s in-house branding and on-air groups worked on the overhaul and worked with two outside agencies.

Troika Design Group created the new TNT logo and color scheme. The promos were created by Droga5.