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Campaign Aims to Bring Weather to Life

8/05/2005 8:00 PM Eastern

Gearing up for the launch of new original programming this fall, The Weather Channel plans to kick off a branding campaign in mid-month that will include a new network logo, an on-air marketing blitz and a redesigned Web site.

“Our goal is to own the whole territory,” said Weather executive vice president of marketing Wonya Lucas.

The campaign is built around a new marketing tagline, “Bringing weather to life.” Spots produced by agency Lambie-Nairn are designed to demonstrate the emotional connection viewers have with the weather, according to Lucas.

Beginning Aug. 15, the new promos will begin airing on Weather. By early September, the network will begin running ads on other networks that will promote its Weekend View program, set to debut Sept. 17.

Weather will also buy national print publications and has secured movie-theater advertising in New York. In addition, it was firming up an outdoor campaign in key markets, which will likely include billboards in New York, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles, Lucas said.

With close to 90 million subscribers, Weather remains the dominant player in its niche, but is facing more competition from NBC Weather Plus, which debuted late last year.

NBC Weather Plus, which is produced by local NBC affiliates, is only available in a small number of digital-cable homes.

Lucas said the new image campaign is “absolutely not” a response to new competition, noting that the network began planning the campaign before Weather Plus was conceived.

“If we were going strictly against the competition, it [the campaign] would be about leadership; why we’re the best. This is about how people turn weather information into inspiration,” Lucas said.

The image campaign will include three 30-second spots, in addition to a trio of different 15-second promos. The network will also run new five-second IDs between programs, and before or after commercial breaks.

In late August, Weather will also unveil a new Web site (www.BringingWeatherToLife.com), which Lucas said will use flash animation to “embody the spirit of the campaign.” One scene will show people sitting round a campfire, with the campfire turning into fireflies.

Weather’s spot cable schedules will tout its Weekend View program, which will be led by new studio host Dau Vu and roving reporter Stephanie Abrahms. The show will run Saturdays and Sundays, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Lucas said Weather hasn’t signed off on the media plan behind the Weekend View promotion yet, as it was still making decisions about which cable networks it will buy ad time on, among other components.

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