ABC’s New Graphic Cue Promotes Brand Across Platforms

Sep 23, 2007  •  Post A Comment

ABC is rolling out a new graphics package designed to unify the network’s branding across dayparts and across television, the Web and mobile devices.

With viewers watching ABC programming on different media, the graphics are part of the network’s cross-platform identity and navigation strategy.
“The whole idea was to simplify and bring a lot more consistency and continuity to the visual representation of ABC,” said Mike Benson, executive VP for marketing and advertising at the network.
ABC’s new slogan, “Start here,” was introduced at the network’s upfront presentation in May. It is intended to get viewers to look for ABC when they want entertainment, whether on TV or another medium.
The network began airing bits of the new logo package on July 4, because “we’re the American Broadcasting Co.,” Mr. Benson said, and a slew of other coordinated network IDs, spots, billboard, bumpers and icons will begin appearing this week as the network premieres its fall shows. Other elements will roll out over the next few months.
“Trying to rebrand a television network is like having two men paint the Queen Mary,” Mr. Benson said.
The project was spearheaded by Troika Design Group, which has worked with ABC since 1998.
The design revolves around what Troika calls a brand cue that shows revolving icons representing a TV, a computer, an iPod and a cell phone, then a “play” button followed by the ABC logo. The logo is rendered in black and white, splashed with liquid and accented with animated ribbons of color. On TV, the ribbons are red for entertainment and blue for news.
The logo also makes subtle changes from daypart to daypart. It is more sparkly and a little more feminine in daytime, for example, said Dan Pappalardo, a partner at Troika, which also has created graphics for Fox and several cable networks.
“All this stuff is ABC,” he said. The design creates a “fun, elegant language for cross-promotion.”
Troika also reworked ABC’s four-note musical signature, giving it more of a tech sound, while aiming to remain “friendly and acceptable,” Mr. Pappalardo said.
Mr. Benson credited Troika with bringing “a really clean design style to this that was uniquely ours.” He said the agency “understood what we were trying to do and our vision of making a unified cohesive system.”
The design will act as an umbrella brand, linking shows to the network while allowing each program to retain a style of its own, Mr. Benson said.
“We’re really trying to embrace the way consumers are using technology and media. It is not just about marketing ABC.com. It’s about recognizing that people flow from one platform to the next,” he said. “There’s a lot of content out there. This should make it easier for the viewer to find what we have.”
While not cheap, Mr. Benson said the redesign did not exceed the network’s normal creative budget.
One big savings is the elimination of the star shoot, the network tradition of bringing together lead actors for a promo campaign.
“We don’t do that anymore,” Mr. Benson said. “Our philosophy is to brand the shows individually. There are different ways of connecting your stars back to the network.”


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