Internet Video

Marketing Strikes a Broadband Balance

4/21/2006 8:00 PM Eastern

As broadband penetration continues to climb, so too will targeted, online marketing messages. The folks at WE: Women’s Entertainment know that, and that’s why the network is already serving up unique broadband content with the goal of having WE viewers and newcomers spend more time with the brand.

Jen Robertson, who oversees consumer marketing for WE, says her network’s marketing campaigns vary slightly in delivery and tone and typically hinge upon how the programming itself is perceived.

“Our goals are the same — the ratings are what we are looking for — but the marketing is very different on John Edward [Cross Country] as opposed to Bridezillas,” said Robertson. “The content drives how we promote it.”

“We Have More Fun”, the network’s tagline is perhaps most applicable to the marketing campaigns, said Robertson: “It’s a call to action that invites viewers to come to WE to have more fun but it is also a definition of who we are in everything that we do, from marketing to programming to online efforts.”

Robertson is currently knee-deep in the development of the Bridezillas campaign, with the show’s third season slated for a June 4 start. Bridezillas is a natural fit for WE because it’s wedding-based, while fitting snugly into categories that the network embraces. “Women love weddings and nearly everyone has either had a Bridezillas moment, knows a Bridezillas or can relate to that idea of having this perfect day and everything not going their way,” she said. “It’s a fun way to look at the process of getting married.”

To bring the fun and frustration of weddings to life in the Bridezillas marketing, Robertson said getting inside the minds of jittery brides comes first and foremost. The first thing a woman typically thinks about during the wedding process after she gets the ring is the dress. “There’s so much ingrained in Bridezillas that’s about personal styles and fashion and the fun parts of women’s lives,” said Robertson. “Because of the show’s fun premise, WE is taking an advertising-as-entertainment approach in giving women something that will get them engaged with the thought of Bridezillas as a show and a brand.”

In early May, WE will release a blog, created by a fictitious character named Dillon. On her blog, Dillon reveals her background: She works in New York for an ad agency as an animator, is in her late 20s and newly engaged. Dillon also believes that she isn’t the Bridezillas-type, even though she eventually becomes one. “She’ll update the blog a few times per week, depending on what is happening during the planning of her wedding,” said Robertson.

Complementing Dillon’s blog are 15- and 30-second animated shorts that vary according to the story she is telling, whether it’s a fight with her mother-in-law or the dress not fitting. Whatever challenge Dillon is facing she creates revenge fantasies in her head that appear as the animated shorts. “For instance, she might think that it would be a great idea to clobber her mother-in-law in the head and tell her she doesn’t care what she thinks,” said Robertson. “We thought broadband was perfect for getting this little Bridezillas message out there. We’ll partner with other sites and try to create word of mouth urgency. Women love to share funny, humorous, entertaining things with their friends so that’s what we’re trying to give them. Our goal is to have them constantly come back for more to spend time with the brand.”

Robertson says the broadband platform is critically important for WE marketing because the network understands that broadband penetration is increasing by significant percentages year over year. The WE marketing team also likes the flexibility that broadband offers as it changes the way people use their computers. “They aren’t trapped in the world of dial-up where you’re either on your computer or you’re online,” she said. “The ability for broadband to deliver video while empowering the computer to become an entertainment device really changes the way women and people in general use their computers.”

Recent research indicates that time spent with broadband media — whether TV, magazines or radio — makes up 25% of overall media consumption. That means viewers can visit the Bridezillas animated shorts whenever it is convenient — an important retention aspect, according to Robertson, as the marketing message now becomes much more than a 20-second on-air spot that is trying to drive more viewers to the series.

“We’re really trying to create more of an experience or a connection with the brand up until we reach our larger part of the campaign, again off-air and based on the animated shorts,” said Robertson. “Even if you haven’t seen any of the shorts, each one is a standalone experience.”

Robertson anticipates eight to 10 broadband shorts based on the Dillon character but says other media buys for Bridezillas will all be based on the story of the character. “We’re driving to the show, but we’re still trying to create the connection with this bride and the WE brand.”

A third party is helping WE link the Bridezillas campaign to like-minded, community Web sites and is also helping the network track and monitor click-through rates including viral aspects. WE is also considering how to include mobile platforms in the Bridezillas campaign.

“Mobile has to be a part of the marketing mix and cannot work on its own,” said Robertson. “You have to be driving to it through whatever else you are doing. The messaging has to be relevant and not intrusive.”

Robertson is a firm believer in new media and alternate marketing platforms and says these areas of delivery will become important pieces of future marketing campaigns. “WE has around 20 new, original series launching over the next year or so,” she said. “There is a lot of opportunity to exploit new mediums to create buzz and awareness.”