If you don’t know Jeff Kreiner or Bruce Soloway, don’t be alarmed. It only means you probably haven’t worked in the TV news business over the past few decades. For the many who have worked with them, and the few who haven’t, please check out this TVWeek interview with Jeff and Bruce. The occasion is a new company that they recently formed to work together.
BRUCE SOLOWAY: We have known each other since 1979. I was at ABC News as the director and executive producer of advertising and promotion. Jeff was an AD. … He then went to CBS and NBC. It was a time that all of our anchors were well-known: Jennings, Brinkley, Koppel, Walters, Donaldson, Downs and Sawyer. We made them No. 1. I worked for Roone Arledge. It was a learning experience that can never be equaled.
TVWeek: Jeff, you left ABC News after a few years.
JEFF KREINER: Yes, I was recruited to go to CBS in 1981 to work with Dan Rather. I directed some of the broadcasts. Then, in 1989, I got into promotion. I ran the department. In 1993 I went to NBC. I was there for three years and oversaw all of their promotion on the East Coast. I went back to CBS in 1996 to run their news promotion for many years.
So between Bruce and I you are not going to find two guys with more experience in television advertising and promotion, certainly on the news side. We’ve seen everything — from print to online and digital to on-air.
TVWeek: So you’ve decided to call your new company Our Creative Juices.
KREINER: Well, between the two of us we have a lot of creative juices.
SOLOWAY: After I left ABC I started a company that did a lot of interstitials. It was an excellent experience. It was still TV, but it was dealing with sponsors and still being creative but doing different graphics than I had before.
TVWeek: What kind of business are you looking for?
SOLOWAY: Some of the new business we’d like hunt for is political campaigns. I think we are extremely qualified. Since we made the networks winners, we feel we can make some candidates winners. Plus there are a lot of opportunities in digital, with things such as social media, that didn’t exist when we started.
TVWeek: Are you concerned that there have been political specialists around for years and that might make it difficult to break into that field?
KREINER: Over the course of the many years we’ve been in the business we’ve got tremendous contacts. I’m in contact with the person who has produced the promotion and the campaigns for Hillary Clinton and for Bill Clinton. We are good friends and we’ve done a lot of work together over the years. So I’m in touch with the Democratic National Committee as well as local races down here in Florida, where I live.
Besides the political campaigns, we are also focusing on the TV station groups. There are groups now that own 100 stations. That’s a lot of affiliates. For example, I’ve worked with Sinclair before. So I’m in contact with them as well.
TVWeek: To give our readers some idea what you guys have done, please tell me about an interesting challenge you had and how you solved it.
SOLOWAY: I did a campaign for all the stations that was extremely effective and successful. We needed to come up with something for an affiliate meeting that said, basically, that ABC News and the local stations were together. I gave this assignment to our advertising agency at the time, and they failed miserably. So I came up with the “Everywhere” campaign. Everywhere news is happening, we are there. ABC News and WABC News. And so forth, in each market.
We got 200 stations participating in this, all because in one meeting I said the word “Everywhere.” We built the campaign that tied the local stations to the network, making us able to then use the word “Everywhere.” It was truly unique.
KREINER: Here’s one we did at CBS that was the most popular and most used we ever did. And it also tied in over 200 affiliates. My feeling was that stories happen around the world, and as a network we tell stories every day. But how do you bring that home to the viewer? So I came up with a campaign that said “Every story is a local story.” Which basically is saying that no matter where a story is happening here’s how it affects you at home, and here’s why. And Dan Rather cut 215 custom promos introducing to and throwing to the local anchors. It tied in a big story with a local story.
You can find Jeff Kreiner and Bruce Soloway on their new website, Our Creative Juices.
Jeff Kreiner, left, and Bruce Soloway