Promax Notes

Jun 27, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Promos as Pop Culture

Larry Jones, president of Nick At Nite and TV Land, marked Promax’s 50th anniversary by presenting a retrospective of 50 years of promos, which he said represented “an unappreciated trove of popular culture.”

The promos also proved that there’s nothing really new in TV. Mr. Jones showed a promo for a plane-crash survivor show, “The New People,” that aired in 1969, years before “Lost”; “Arrest and Trial,” starring Ben Gazzara and Chuck Connors, which looked suspiciously like “Law & Order”; and “The Model of the Year Pageant” from 1967, which resembled “America’s Next Top Model.” Mr. Jones also showed off some very early examples of product integration, including one of George Burns being interrupted so the attributes of Carnation milk could be spilt.

Entertained, Not Informed

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told attendees that the media has done a poor job of covering important issues such as the environment.

After being introduced by moderator Ronald Reagan Jr., Mr. Kennedy said that because of the media’s fascination with “sex and celebrity gossip,” Americans are among the “most entertained and least informed” people in the world.

“We are not getting the news in this country,” he said. “It’s more important than Michael Jackson or Laci Peterson.”

Koppel In for Jennings

Ted Koppel shared some thoughts about the changes he’s seen in the industry during his 42-year career.

He joked about his hair, saying he’s paid well by ABC News, so “If I had to wear a rug, I could afford a better one.”

Another joke led to a more poignant punch line. He told the tale of how the author James Michener was called to be honored as the Greatest Living American Author. He checked his schedule and said he

couldn’t make it on the day the award was to be given, and was asked, “Can you think of another greatest American author?” He suggested some other names but was told they’d already been called.

Similarly, Mr. Koppel told the audience, “I know who your first choice was,” alluding to “my buddy Peter Jennings,” who is suffering from lung cancer. “He will be with you next year,” Mr. Koppel said.

Mr. Koppel recalled the days before news was a profit center for the broadcast network. “We covered what we thought was important and what the public needed to know,” he said.

That changed with the success of “60 Minutes,” which helped turn news into “a product that could be sold. It actually made money.”

Now newscasts are “more concerned about the ‘Runaway Bride’ than some of the important issues of today,” he said.

Asked about his plans after “Nightline,” he replied, “None of your damn business,” with what appeared to be a smile.

Promos Build a Bond

Anne Sweeney, co chairman of Media Networks for The Walt Disney Co. and president of Disney-ABC Television Group, presented the Television Century Award to George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and co-chairman of Disney’s Media Networks, at the opening of the Promax&BDA conference.

In his comments, Mr. Bodenheimer stressed the importance of promotions such as ESPN’s 10-year-old “This is SportsCenter” campaign in building bonds with TV audiences.

They Still Watch Ads

Brent Magid, president of Frank N. Magid Associates, released the findings of a study conducted for Promax (TelevisionWeek, June 20). It found that 55 percent of DVR users report stopping on occasion while fast-forwarding to watch an advertisement that catches their attention.

Magid concluded that to get the viewer to stop fast-forwarding, the spot or commercial must make an emotional connection and provide strong and compelling content or products that the viewer is interested in using. Looking at promotional messages embedded in the lower third of the screen while a program is running, Magid found that 51 percent of viewers report using information they see there to make viewing decisions-including what not to watch.