Viacom Surprises Media with Celebrities and Doughnuts
The “upfront season” is when many a media buy is made, and Viacom didn’t want its TV Land and Nick at Night networks to go unnoticed during the endless string of presentations and events media planners were faced with.
There were several objectives: One, generate increased interest and acceptance of the networks among the media buyers and planners. Two, communicate the idea that the channels offered “safe, comfortable, simpler homes for all, which is exactly what viewers want in uncertain times.” Three, position TV Land as a lead trendsetter. Four, effectively differentiate the two channels from one another in the minds of the media world.
One caveat: The media planners were primarily under 27, meaning many weren’t even born when most of the TV Land and Nick at Night programs originally aired (jeez, the kids are taking over the world).
Fast forward to the presentations. TV Land execs rolled in and began the pitches. Just as the head of networks was making the point that classic TV is “like the comfort food of television,” Krispy Kreme delivery people barged into the room to deliver some comfort food of their own. A little irreverent banter reinforced the point as the doughnut folks exited. A little later, when the executive was explaining the distinction between TV Land and Nick at Night, there was another interruption. This time, an audience member (an actress posing as a media buyer) challenged the Viacom presenter, saying she “just doesn’t get it,” and asking for further clarification. Kelsey Grammer appeared on a nearby TV monitor, offering some Frasier-themed psychotherapeutical babble and examining the questioner’s conflicted feelings to help her “overcome a fear of commitment”—to the networks. Later on, Adam West of Batman fame stepped into the room to deliver news that someone in the room had won a DVD player.
Overall, the presentations were a hit, nailing the objectives and making sure the media buyers wouldn’t forget the two networks or how they both could deliver quality content and ratings for advertisers.