Content

CNN News Group

6/17/2005 8:00 PM Eastern

Scot Safon, senior VP marketing and promotions, CNN News Group, and Andy Mitchell, director of interactive marketing, CNN News Group

In an on-demand world, it isn't hard to imagine having your own private news anchor. That at least was the premise of a lighthearted campaign to promote CNN.com that began airing last November. The spots featured CNN anchors in situations interacting with average viewers who wanted simpler but precise info that a news Web site can provide.

In one spot, for example, Wolf Blitzer starts to explain current economic news to a woman, who really just wants the price of her stock.

The humor highlights the way many people use the Internet, notes Scot Safon, senior VP of marketing and promotions for the CNN News Group. But the tagline, “CNN.com: The Power of CNN Under Your Command,” reinforces the branding message that “CNN.com offers users the newsgathering resources of the most trusted name in news on demand,” he says.

This campaign is one of the reasons that Promax is giving Brand Builder Awards to Safon and Andy Mitchell, director of interactive marketing at CNN News Group. Safon also credits Brendan Gibbons of Hungry Man Productions, who wrote and directed the promos.

Such efforts to promote CNN's brand outside of its television networks are increasingly crucial to CNN's future. As CNN has discovered in its 25th year, there are plenty of news sources, and it also trails Fox News in ratings. That competition has “created both enormous opportunities and challenges for our branding efforts,” Safon says.

CNN's overall cross-branding efforts position the networks as the “Most Trusted Name in News,” a slogan that fits when news, like the tsunami or the Pope's death occur. “We aren't just showing pictures,” he says. CNN is selling experience.

Safon acknowledges Fox's success with its personality-driven approach, “but we believe that, no matter how crowded the marketplace is, there is a real need for an objective, trusted news source.”

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