With a transition two years in the making, Scripps Interactive service Great American Country will unfurl its new brand identity and logo, inspired by the U.S. flag, on Oct. 1.
The move away from the acronym GAC and to a broader programming palette reflects "country" as a noun accenting America, rather than as an adjective pointing to a particular kind of music. While country music will remain a key programming component, Great American Country is continuing to evolve from videos to more long-form fare, as well as more series and specials emanating from the family, home, food and travel segments.
The 63-million home network will also become available in the high-definition format for the first time with the makeover, with its conversion beginning in the fourth quarter and rolling out over the next year.
“This has been a two-year process from a programming perspective,” said Great American Country senior vice president and general manager SarahTrahern in an interview, noting that music videos can be found in many places online. “We started moving toward more of a lifestyle service with ‘Living Country’ a year ago and are continuing to broaden our mix.”
Trahern said the third season of Farm Kings, which documents the Pennsylania family that earns a living off the land and extols the virtues of local agriculture, and American work ethic, will bow on Dec. 19. New seasons of Kimberly’s Simply Southern, which matches travel, food, home and music sensibilities of Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman and Celebrity Motor Homes, which originally rolled on HGTV, are also on tap.
On the music side in the fourth quarter, Great American Country will present a number of specials and docs and coverage of Country Music Awards, while maintaining such series such as Top 20 Countdown and keeping the spotlight on today’s biggest country music stars through original series like Origins and Backstory.
As to the rebranding gambit, the network tapped Los Angeles-based Big Block Design Group, which created a number of spots, rooted in American roots, to work on its revised indentity.
The broad “Anthem” promo plays against the audio accompaniment of Langhorne Slim & The Law’s “The Way We Move,” showcasing backyard scenes like kids running with football and soccer balls, a son and father having a baseball catch, and people playing guitar and banjo on bales of hay; landscape vistas and images from the road, including from bikers’ vantage points; firework displays and carnival kewpie dolls; pumpkins and Halloween costuming; and barbequing and pies being removed from the oven.
The images and music are complemented by the phrases “Great American Tradition,” “Great American Flavor,” “Great American Rivalry,” “Great American Roadtrip,” and “Great American Life.”
Other spots are more specific with “Great American Flavor” focusing on the food category; “Great American Moments” underlining the family and home activities; “Great American Life,” an alternate to the previous creative; and “Great American Travel,” a quick spot highlighting landscapes within the confines of the network’s new logo. (Check out some of the creative here: https://sni.box.com/s/5ydfl5tbahlnzw9i9rt0)
“The project was truly exceptional in that our endeavor was to create an emotional destination that felt like home, warm and comfortable, without feeling old fashioned,” said Peter King, executive producer at Big Block Design Group. “I think we found that feeling in the real people we met and filmed across the country.”
A number of Great American Country viewers will get to see the promo spots and the revised programming lineup in high-definition as the service begins to roll out with different distributors in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve been filming all of our specials and programming in high-definition for a while now,” said Trahern, noting viewers will be able to see the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas from Dec. 5-14 in the enhanced format. “In the past, not all of the videos were shot that way; they’re all in HD now.”
Trahern said spots will air on Great American Country’s air, as well as on distributor’s cross-channel avails and “social media things. I’m very excited about the rebrand. We’re really enhancing the product to become part of Scripps’ family of lifestyle networks.”