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Belgium's New Male-Focused Channel, CAZ, Goes Big, Bold to Attract Men

by Ben Cooper  |  11.17.2016

Action, sports, special forces and blockbuster gangster movies – what more could a man want?

In a packed schedule of drama shows including Game of Thrones and Las Vegas, to documentaries with a male-oriented edge, stand-up comedy, live sporting events and movies, the people behind newly launched Belgian channel CAZ are hoping they’ve got it all covered.

The channel went live in October and has already made its mark on Belgian television. But what about behind the scenes? How did the channel’s owner, MEDIALAAN, and the designers behind the new look, get all-important branding right?

Every broadcaster will know that half of the challenge in launching a new channel is getting the content right – the other half is getting the right viewers interested.

So in August when Vilvoorde-based multimedia company MEDIALAAN purchased Belgian channel Eight and announced that it would be re-branded into CAZ, a new station aimed at men, the broadcaster had a big design job on its hands. Not least because up until then one of its most well-known channels, Vitaya, specializes in women’s content.

Cue Netherlands-based design agency CapeRock. The brief: to design a striking brand that would appeal specifically to men between the ages of 18-45. To accompany the launch MEDIALAAN needed the whole works: logo, typography, color scheme, break bumpers, on-air graphics, promo packaging, online design and a unique style for all communications.

CapeRock founder and strategy director Marco-Paul de Jeu says that key to the project was to create a brand that would “resonate” with men and provide MEDIALAAN with a flexible package to be used across the board. The whole look and the feel of the branding, says de Jeu, needed to reflect the channel’s ethos and its content. The result, he says, was a “vigorous design”, with bold, attention-grabbing themes.

“We focussed on a simple and bold brand design, just how men like it,” he says. “The visual property is based on the logo design and appears in different crops and multiple colors. With its bold, simple and powerful design it stands out in the Belgian market, supporting the further expansion and growth of MEDIALAAN in Belgium.”

Viewers have a new channel to feast on, but as broadcasters know very well, behind the scenes there is far more happening than meets the eye. As MEDIALAAN Senior Creative Director Lieven Van Overbeke says: “The launch of CAZ in fact is more complex than just launching a male TV brand. MEDIALAAN marketing decided to name the brand differently and start from there. The new CAZ brand had to fit into the family of media brands of MEDIALAAN, proud, bold and contemporary identities.

“The core male positioning fits within the global brand portfolio of MEDIALAAN. The CAZ programming is complementary to the rest of the brands.”

With a busy schedule that includes national and Champions League soccer, as well as stand-up comedy from around the world, U.S. chat shows and real-life documentaries, it’s certainly a departure from the fashion, beauty and lifestyle content MEDIALAAN is known for on Vitaya.

But then it’s not the first time that CapeRock has taken on a whole new brief for MEDIALAAN. The two companies have been working hand-in-hand since 2009 and over the years CapeRock has delivered on a range of brands from multi-platform youth brand JIM to radio station Joe.

One of the reasons for choosing CapeRock, says Van Overbeke, was that the two companies’ long history of working together meant that another objective was possible: to introduce CAZ subtly, and quickly in what he describes as a “short-term delivery”.

He says: “The launch of CAZ was not supposed to be a major marketing event for MEDIALAAN, rather a strategic operation. The marcomm approach was very minimal: a generic launch promo, print ads and an event for the viewers. CAZ was launched on television with an exclusive boxing match with some famous TV personalities, both male and female.”

And while this was a unique challenge and a new brief, de Jeu says that of utmost importance are the universal principles that underpin any project, of good design and good tailored content, flexible enough for multiple marketing purposes.

He explains: “In our creative process we always put a lot of focus and effort in developing a strong visual property that is connected to the logo design and that forms the base of all brand design and communication. It wasn’t any different in this project. The visual property that we developed is based on the logo design and appears in multiple ways. Different crops of the logo can be used in multiple colors to create a variety of outings.”

MEDIALAAN is thinking big. With plans to extend its reach into the Belgian markets, across TV, radio social media online, the company is sticking to the principle that good design and good marketing are invaluable tools.

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