A&E Gets 'Real' With New Brand Positioning


A&E will bow a new brand positioning and logo with the debut of its Andromeda Strain miniseries this Memorial Day weekend.

The multiplatform positioning will center on the new tagline, “Real Life. Drama," which will be incorporated into the network’s communications across varied vehicles throughout the summer, when the service introduces the scripted series, The Cleaner. That series will likely begin sometime in July, according to network officials.

A&E is slated to apprise the Madison Avenue set of the changes during its upfront presentation to advertisers at the Morgan Library in Manhattan Monday evening. At the point, the network, which has recorded ratings gains from its investment in docuseries in recent years, will also announce a trio of new shows, as well as the return of eight extant series.

A&E Television Networks president and CEO Abbe Raven is expected to tell the assembled media buyers that the company is allocating some $650 million for new programming and content across its varied networks and holdings, including History, whose upfront presentation will follow A&E’s.

The campaign, showcasing key characters from A&E posing a challenge to the viewer that gets to the emotional heart of the real life drama in each of the shows, will encompass national and local television spots, online, print advertising in major publications and out-of-home in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit and Chicago.

The positioning of the network will be executed across all platforms, including the AETV.com, which network officials said has recorded a 310% growth in video traffic over the past year. The Web site will be overhauled to take on the same new look and feel as the linear network.

“We have enjoyed tremendous success as a result of the strategic transformation of A&E over the past few years,” said A&E vice president and general manager Bob DeBitetto in a statement. “We believe our new tagline is an apt shorthand for who we are; quality unscripted real life shows and scripted drama. Our real-life shows are emotional and dramatic, and our scripted dramas are authentic.”

Added senior vice president of marketing Guy Slattery:“The new brand campaign is a result of eighteen months of extensive demographic and psychographic audience research to better understand the consumers who are driving our recent success. The tagline ’Real Life. Drama.,’ the new logo and look will emphasize A&E’s unique brand which promises our viewers honest, emotionally intense television that engages them and isn’t afraid to show life as it really is.”

On the new series front, A&E will add three new real life series: The Squad, about a 12-member team that investigates all of the crimes in Tehachapi maximum security prison, home to nation’s worst criminals; Psychic Kids: Children of Paranormal, a companion series to the net’s Paranormal State; and Jacked, which provides an inside look at rarely seen stealth tactics employed to put car thieves behind bars.

A&E will also return new seasons of Intervention, Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels, Paranormal State, Criss Angel Mindfreak, Crime 360, The First 48, The Two Coreys and Parking Wars