Leading into this year’s upfronts, many TV networks are scrambling to figure out how to best represent their brands, woo advertisers and create concise messaging for wildly varied programming. Not Lifetime. For Lifetime, an all-new on-air look and brand packaging came together almost on accident.
“The most exciting things happen when they’re a little more random,” said Tim Nolan, SVP of marketing creative and brand strategy for Lifetime. And random it was, with a whole new brand package created by Lifetime Writer/Producer Steven Moseley after a simple request. With a busy upfront season ahead, Mosley was asked to create a sizzle for Lifetime, showcasing the channel’s “social revolution” while attracting a younger audience with a bold new look. What he came up with, almost entirely in its original form, is what is now Lifetime’s “Social Revolution” brand packaging.
“It was amazing,” said Nolan. “We felt like he was really onto something, and he really nailed where we want to take this brand.”
And so it also became Lifetime’s new on-air look, set to roll out this summer, beginning with the Season 2 premiere of “Devious Maids” in April. The brand spot (above), set to “Let the Credits Roll” by Showboy Rickey, infuses bold typography with powerful images of women to create a high-energy, “glossy look,” according to Val Albanese, senior VP of brand creative for Lifetime, who added: “When we show women we want to show them in a position of power and strength.”
The end result is meant to attract younger viewers to the network, while still engaging Lifetime’s core audience. Brief glimpses at strong women are juxtaposed with in-your-face typography and beat-heavy background music to create a disruptive feel and show Lifetime’s new and evolving programming portfolio at its best.
“It allows us to be premium and popular, which are very key here,” according to Nolan. “It’s easy to be popular, but to be polished and premium and popular is a very hard thing to do.”
The packaging allows Lifetime to interweave cohesive messaging covering the channel’s three main genres: original unscripted programs, movies and scripted series, featuring newer titles such as “Preachers’ Daughters” and “The Gabby Douglas Story” alongside old favorites like “Project Runway.” And each series or TV event comes with its own saying or phrase through the spot’s changing typography – “Heaven sent. Hell bent” for “Preachers’ Daughters,” “Fashion Your Seat Belts” for “Project Runway,” “Deliciously Dirty” for “Devious Maids.”
“What’s interesting about the typography is it says a lot but it’s more a tone and a feeling,” said Nolan. “Because of the way the typography’s set, it brings out a lot more emotion in the package.”
The “Social Revolution” look is also meant to constantly change and evolve along with the network, according to Nolan.
“Because of the frenetic pacing of the piece, it’s easy to infuse the movies with our reality and our scripted fare, and it’s the collision of the old and the new coming together in a very vibrant way,” he says.
Each franchise can be incorporated into the on-air look when feasible, and critics’ quotes can be added to individual show assets, as the channel ramps up its dedication to original programming.
“What’s really fun about it is there are no rules,” said Nolan. “The typography allows us to evolve the package further because there are no rules in the typography – you can keep changing it as you move along.”
The goal of the new on-air look and bold summer campaign comes down to attracting the type of viewer Lifetime calls the “Lifer.”
Albanese came up with the analysis: “Viewers watch TV, fans engage, superfans go crazy and then there are ‘Lifers,’ the super-super-fans that completely engage and own the brand.”
“It’s really about converting the viewers of Lifetime into the fans of Lifetime,” said Nolan.
Tim Nolan: SVP, Marketing Creative and Brand Strategy, Lifetime
Val Albanese: SVP, Brand Creative, Lifetime
Aaron Goldman: VP, On-Air Brand Creative, Lifetime
Jennifer Ferguson: Sr. Director, Production & Creative, Lifetime
Steven Moseley: Writer/Producer, Lifetime