ABC Puts Some Pop in Brand with U2’s Help

Advertising Age by Chuck Ross (1997-04-07)

Network’s Latest Promo Linkup With A Band Benefits May Sweeps

ABC, in a branding alliance with the popular band U2, will label its on-air promotions with the slogan``ABC is POP’’ during April and the upcoming May sweeps period.

ABC will air a 1-hour special on the Irish rock band April 26, the day after the start of the band’s tour topromote its new album, POP. Both the album and the POPMART tour combine elements of ’70 kitschand ’90s technology.

``We want ABC to come alive, to be more exciting,’’ said Alan Cohen, ABC’s exec VP-marketing. ``Theband has said it’s happy to have infiltrated a major U.S. TV network,’’ he added with a laugh.


ABC will adopt POP icons such as lava lamps for its on-air promotions. The spots will be done in a stylereminiscent of MTV rather than traditional network TV.

``We wanted a younger look,’’ Mr. Cohen said.

The campaign breaks April 8 with a 60-second promotional spot that highlights the network’s major Maysweeps programming, said Jim Vescera, senior VP-advertising and promotion for ABC Entertainment.Additional spots will run alongside the closing credits for ABC shows. Most ads are being created in-house.

ABC similarly branded itself ``A Beatles C’’ for an earlier promotion tied to the network’s airing of amultipart series on the Beatles in November 1995.

U2 music videos from the POP album will be used throughout the campaign. ABC has been airing speciallymade music videos as promotional tools for some time, including a Phil Collins video to promote ``NYPDBlue’’ and a Sting ballad hyping ``Relativity.’’

``This is the logical next step,’’ Mr. Vescera said. ``Pop culture is delivered by TV. So ABC is POP.”

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