The Names Behind the Names You Know


Brands: They're more than just trademarks and logos. In the era of the 500-channel universe, brands are what TV itself is selling, both to its audiences and to its advertisers. And TV's own brands range from MTV, a network that purveys a hip lifestyle, to Barbara Walters, the veteran news personality who has herself become a cultural icon.

In this era of abundant viewing choices, branding has moved to the forefront, says Dennis Swanson, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Viacom Television Stations Group, one of the three winners of this year's TV Century Awards, created by the Promax&BDA promotion and marketing organization to honor television's premier brand builders.

Besides Swanson, the awards this year go to Judy McGrath, MTV Networks Group president, and Barbara Walters, ABC News correspondent, correspondent and anchor of ABC's 20/20 and The Barbara Walters Specials, and co-host and executive producer of ABC Daytime's The View.

The Century Award winners receive their plaudits during the Promax&BDA organization's annual conference, to be held June 23-25 at the New York Hilton & Towers in Manhattan.

Also being presented this season are the Promax Brand Builders Awards, whose winners will be honored in a private ceremony June 23. They range from TV stations to an internationally renowned designer. All are in the business of creating awareness of their networks and programs and are doing it better than anyone else.

Swanson points out that, in the earlier age of television, advertisers used the medium to build their brands. Now TV is "competing for shelf space and public attention and shoppers' attention. We're in the same business now. Maybe we should have been branding earlier, but it didn't seem quite as critical [in the Big Three era], but it clearly is now."

Century Award series by Louis Chunovic

Brand Builder Stories by Sharon Donovan