Four examples of media brand positioning documents August 1995 Comedy Central 1991 MTV: Music Television 1987

Nick-at-Nite 1987 Hanna-Barbera 1994

Assignment: POSITIONING COMEDY CENTRAL (originally CTV: Comedy Television) Agency: Fred/Alan Inc. Date: 1991 Positioning document written by Bill Burnett CTV: Comedy Television was the bastard child arising from the ashes of war between MTV Networks’ “HA!: the TV Comedy Network” and HBO’s “The Comedy Channel.” The merged entity came into existence with hundreds of millions of dollars in second rate programming (SNL excepted) and personnel. And a basic difference in programming philosophies between the owners. We stepped into the fray more aligned with the HA! folks (who weren’t interested in overpromising to the audience that everything on the channel would be funny) than the Comedy Channel folks. They insisted that the word “comedy” be in the channel name, but, other than that, were completely in the dark as to how to create a channel that had a defined point of view in all promotion and programming. The positioning reflected the vision of our team that felt a network could seem like a place where America’s favorite comedy stars hung out and where all the rising stars wanted to go; kind of like Rolling Stone is to music. In fact, network management so bought into the vision that they renamed the joint “Comedy Central” straight out of the positioning document. Now only if they had done any more than that...

POSITIONING CTV: Comedy Television
aka Comedy Central 1991

THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF POSITIONING: Descriptive and Aspirational

DESCRIPTIVE POSITIONING DEFINES AN EXISTING SITUATION. Examples: Avis was #2, and (at least theoretically) already was trying harder before they came out with that position. 7-up didn't reformulate to become the "Un-cola". The position merely described what the product already was.

ASPIRATIONAL POSITIONING DEFINES A GOAL FOR A PRODUCT OR COMPANY. Examples: MTV positioned itself as "MTV vs. normal TV" before the channel even got off the ground. The positioning served as an aspirational yardstick for everything MTV did, from advertising and programming to staffing and acceptance of paid advertising. FOX's position was that it wanted to become the 4th broadcast network. It was a long term goal that could not be accomplished overnight. But it provided everyone at the company with a clear sense of purpose. It gave a certain savvy section of the public someone to root for. And, after careful selection of material and development of new product, it bore fruit. They never would have made it without the position.

WHAT TO BE AND WHAT NOT TO BE--THAT IS THE QUESTION. An aspirational position should answer this question: What can we become that will be successful, generate excitement inside our company as well as in the world, and be as valid ten years from now as it is today? Aspirational positioning is especially helpful when the "product" doesn't yet exist, as is the case with CTV. It is not intended to determine specific programming questions, like whether to do a weekend of all stand-up or a Lucy marathon, but it could help point in the right general direction. It does not have to be true now in order to be appropriate, as long as it is something we could legitimately work toward.

WHAT CAN CTV: THE COMEDY NETWORK ASPIRE TO?

Let's pause for a quick look at history...

THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION IS COMEDY. From its earliest days as an entertainment medium, TV has been dominated by comedy. While there have been successful dramatic shows, TV's benchmarks are, and will always be, Milton Berle, Lucy, Sid Caesar, Gleason, Dick Van Dyke, The Smothers Brothers, Laugh-in, Mary Tyler Moore, M*A*S*H*, All In The Family, Saturday Night Live, Cheers, Cosby, Rosanne, The Simpsons etc....

THERE'S COMEDY EVERYWHERE. Viewers don't need more comedy on TV because they have it. They've always had it. They always will have it. All the broadcast channels, and nearly every cable channel programs some comedy every day. But so far nobody IS comedy.

WHAT CAN CTV OFFER VIEWERS THAT THEY CAN'T GET EVERYWHERE ELSE? Comedy round the clock? Yes, but that's a basically passive claim. The home for comedy? Sounds like a retirement community. (Where comedy goes to die.) The first stop for comedy? Fine, but why? How do we give CTV the sense of energy that you find with say, MTV or CNN? Maybe we need to ask a bigger question...

HOW CAN CTV EARN A PLACE IN TELEVISION HISTORY?

Let's pause for another look at history...

THE HOTHOUSE EFFECT Now and then in the history of show business, time, resources, talent, and vision fortuitously come together to form hothouses of creativity. MGM studios in the 30s and 40s is one example. Disney Studios in the 40s and 50s is another. Motown in the 60s and Saturday Night live in the 70s are two more recent "hothouses" All of these emerged from relatively humble beginning and became creative factories where exceptional talent could be discovered and thrive. They were places where people who were passionate about movie making, or animation, or music, or live TV comedy, were eager to come to work often for peanuts --they were drawn to these places because there was an aura about them of being "the" place where their dreams could come to life.

WHAT WOULD COMEDY CENTRAL BE? CTV should see itself as encompassing all of TV comedy's past and future. The place where TV comedy lives, in the form of classic shows, new shows being created, new talents being discovered, and eventually new venues being explored (i.e. feature films, Broadway shows, who knows?) Like FOX becoming the 4th network, this will not happen overnight. Like MGM, Disney, Motown and Saturday Night Live, it will mean slowly building a consumer following around the talents that CTV has nurtured.

CTV COULD BECOME THE TELEVISION COMEDY HOTHOUSE OF THE 90's... "COMEDY CENTRAL." Before we laugh that off as being too grandiose, let's look at what we have going for us. Time: This is a time when cable is ascending and the broadcast networks are on the wane. (CNN is already assuming a prominent role in TV news.) Soon virtually all American households will have cable, and the distinction between broadcast and cable will blur until it disappears completely. Resources: CTV is beginning life with a fair amount of publicity, thanks to the war between HA! and the Comedy Channel. It is the offspring of the most credible, successful parents in the basic (MTVN) and pay (HBO) cable businesses. It has the combined financial and subscriber bases of the two, plus an impressive programming roster to choose from. Talent: The hottest new talents would spark to this positioning if it were properly expressed to them. More established talents would be intrigued and would gravitate to us as time goes by. Vision: The sky's the limit.

TWO ROLE MODELS: COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESPN is a cable channel with no vision and very little energy. All they do is put sports on TV. Not the top sporting events (they can't get them) or the most complete, incisive coverage of sports--just sports. If they started the ESPN play-by-play Institute to teach sport casters how to do better commentary, people would laugh. ESPN is unlikely to ever become "the world's place for sports." CNN, on the other hand, positioned itself as the world's place for news. They opened bureaus and placed equipment in tiny burgs around the world. At first, people were skeptical of CNN's vision. But now we're all watching live CNN feeds from Baghdad, the Secretary of Defense cites CNN as giving the best coverage of the Persian Gulf war, and the broadcast networks are interviewing CNN reporters on their air. CNN has, in fact, become the world's place for news. CTV has a little-known studio which can literally be the "hothouse" where talent and material can be nurtured. Comedy fans (read: everybody) will be rooting for a channel that not only gives them great comedy round the clock, but also is growing it from within. It is the only channel that actually could become the "mythic visionary" of TV comedy.

SUMMARY CTV is in a unique position to become the MGM Studios of television comedy. It can provide and develop every type of comedy for every taste. It can build and nurture fresh new material and talents. It can be Comedy Central, a home for everything from the solo stand-up to the next Ghostbusters. What would Comedy Central mean?

WHAT COMEDY CENTRAL WOULD MEAN TO CONSUMERS.

Comedy Central would win support and patience from the public. It would place CTV in the role of pioneer, instead of just being one more cable channel vying for attention. It would make CTV a channel to watch, regardless of what you might see any specific time you tune in.

WHAT COMEDY CENTRAL WOULD MEAN TO THE CABLE TRADE.

Comedy Central means that CTV would be a focused channel with vision. A focused channel with vision translates into an exciting place on the dial--and therefore an additional lure for new subscribers.

WHAT COMEDY CENTRAL WOULD MEAN TO THE PRODUCTION/CREATIVE COMMUNITY. Comedy Central would attract adventurous young talent. It would represent a chance for freedom and experimentation for more established talent. With careful development of material, it would eventually become the place to be for anyone working in comedy.

WHAT COMEDY CENTRAL WOULD MEAN TO CTV. Comedy Central would build pride and energy within the company. It would give ad sales, marketing, on-air promotions, and programming a horn to blow and a target to aim for. And--if the history of television tells us anything--with luck, vision and hard work, Comedy Central would succeed.

Assignment: POSITIONING MTV: MUSIC TELEVISION Agency: Fred/Alan Inc. Year: 1987 Positioning document written by Alan Goodman MTV: Music Television was my first employer in television and a great example of positioning by intuition. With good and focused leadership from Bob Pittman, those of us on staff all knew what we were and what we were doing. Years after the 1981 launch, with long-form successes like "Remote Control" there was a move afoot to mess it up by claiming that the audience was "bored" with music videos, repositioning MTV away from music and more as a lifestyle service. Additionally, a shift to a second generation of management had taken the initial gut instincts that built the joint and hardened them into inappropriate "rules" that were brandished like capricious swords at new employees' heads. So, the challenge was to create a position that: 1> formalized the intuition that let some people claim that they "got MTV" to support whatever personal opinion they had at the moment. 2> would take into account the evolution of the network into longer form programming. 3> gave guidance to creative decisions, business decisions so they would be consistent with, and build further, the network’s brand character. I think you’ll find, with some exceptions, the document holds up pretty well, and that MTV pretty much follows it to this day.

POSITIONING MTV

July 17, 1987

POSITIONING MTV
Introduction To recap something we all learned long ago: "positioning" a product means finding a place for it -- a hole -- in a prospect's mind. A place we can claim that competitors cannot. There are many reasons why we may want to be "the entertainment source for young America." Or "a non-stop party." Or a million other things. But these aspirations are ours, not our consumers. We must remember to look inside the consumer's head. And to successfully position a product for minds everyone else wants to occupy in the age of overcommunication, it must be a simple message. Often, positioning a product is easier when that product has competitors -- Avis "tries harder," Lite Beer is "everything you want, and less," 7-Up is the "uncola," etc. But MTV is "Music Television," and nothing else is. So MTV has no competitors. Right? Wrong!

The Environment Defines the Competition MTV exists in an environment where there is more choice available than ever before. Cable television. Often, cable programmers try to draw a distinction between cable and broadcast. Cable means choice and modernity, broadcast means less choice and tradition. But these programmers identify the environment in their terms, not consumers' terms. More and more, the difference between broadcast and cable will blur in consumers' minds, and for our children, who will never see a TV dial and won't know the limitations of the VHF 2-13 band, the distinction may not exist at all. WTBS is shows, just like Channel 2. So is USA Network and Lifetime. And when the Pay services show movies you don't want, they may as well not be there at all.

For real consumers, television is television. And there are certain things about television that MTV isn't. WATCHING TELEVISION IS: • • • • • Making a commitment (a half-hour -- or hour -- commitment). Putting up with the shows they feed you. Watching things that aren't for you (they are mass audience). Not listening to music. Predictable.

WATCHING MTV IS: • • • • • A small, or short, commitment. No shows. Or, a new show every three minutes. Watching something that's for you. Music. Reliable, not predictable.

Simplifying the Message We have to put all of these differentiating characteristics into a simple message. Because we can't list them all for consumers whenever we want to talk to them. And because they aren't all that meaningful to consumers, who never think about things like "commitments" when they hit the remote button. We need one word that instantly identifies us and our competition to our audience. We know what we are: MTV. So what is the competition, all those other TV channels out there? There is only one word to describe them: Normal. When programmers talk of "Miami Vice" as having MTV attitude, they mean "not like normal cop shows." When commercials are said to have and MTV look, it means disjointed, disconnected, musically-rhythmic but not linear or logical -- in other words, "not like normal commercials." It's

Normal TV vs. MTV

Normal TV and MTV Normal TV is boring. • • • • • • • • It let's you down. It makes you wait for what you want. It's never surprising. It all looks the same. It's for old people or my little brother. It's phony and hype-y. It's dumb and old-fashioned. It's not mine.

MTV is alive and looks interesting. • • • • • • • It's always there when I want it. Sometimes, it can really surprise you. They really do some different-looking things in the videos. It's for people like me. I can believe what they say. It's very up-to-date and state-of-the-art. It's my MTV.

Normal TV vs. MTV MTV is relief from Normal TV. • • • • • • • It's a quick break from Normal TV. It's mine, and Normal TV belongs to everybody. It's more stuff I like, and Normal TV is more stuff I hate. It's music, and Normal TV isn't. It's for people like me and my friends, and Normal TV isn't. It's cool, and Normal TV is dumb. It has "it," and Normal TV doesn't.

Normal TV or MTV. This simple statement provides MTV with a benchmark against which everything about and for the network can be judged; • • • • • • Programs Specials Promotions Contests Advertising Staffing

And it has value beyond promotion and advertising; • • • It supports and encourages MTV's fundamental strength as a risk-taker. It guarantees that MTV will never evolve into "normal TV." It is used as a common vision throughout the company to ensure that MTV will always deliver on this promise.

Advertising 1988 Campaign Objectives • • Increase network cume Build trademark value

Strategies • Use TV as the primary medium to generate awareness. -- point-of-purchase -- delivers message with sight and sound • Use TV Guide for show-specific tune-in advertising.

Tactics • Create advertising that asks the question -- "TV or MTV?" -- and answers with the line that is still valid -- "I want my MTV" -- within this re-defined context.

Results "We've had the best ratings year we've ever had, and in terms of the value of our trademark -- we've now been able to develop ancillary businesses." Bob Friedman Senior Vice President MTV Marketing

1989 Campaign Objectives • • Increase network cume. Build trademark value.

Strategies • Use a combination of TV -- to generate awareness plus Radio and Print -- for show-specific tune-in messages -- saturate the markets -- test media performance Tactics • • Create TV advertising that does a straight comparison of MTV vs. Normal TV. Create Radio and Print advertising that demonstrates the essence of MTV -- not-normal entertainment -- with show-specific end-tags.

Results "Unconventional approaches in unconventional times allow you to have low budget levels and yet break through with messages that people remember. Even when you are up against people spending considerably more dollars." Tom Freston Chairman MTV Networks

Assignment: POSITIONING MTV: MUSIC TELEVISION Agency: Fred/Alan Inc. Year: 1987 Positioning document written by Alan Goodman MTV: Music Television was my first employer in television and a great example of positioning by intuition. With good and focused leadership from Bob Pittman, those of us on staff all knew what we were and what we were doing. Years after the 1981 launch, with long-form successes like "Remote Control" there was a move afoot to mess it up by claiming that the audience was "bored" with music videos, repositioning MTV away from music and more as a lifestyle service. Additionally, a shift to a second generation of management had taken the initial gut instincts that built the joint and hardened them into inappropriate "rules" that were brandished like capricious swords at new employees' heads. So, the challenge was to create a position that: 1> formalized the intuition that let some people claim that they "got MTV" to support whatever personal opinion they had at the moment. 2> would take into account the evolution of the network into longer form programming. 3> gave guidance to creative decisions, business decisions so they would be consistent with, and build further, the network’s brand character. I think you’ll find, with some exceptions, the document holds up pretty well, and that MTV: Music Television pretty much followed it until they became MTV.

POSITIONING MTV
MTV: Music Television
Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc.

July 17, 1987

Introduction To recap something we all learned long ago: "positioning" a product means finding a place for it -- a hole -- in a prospect's mind. A place we can claim that competitors cannot. There are many reasons why we may want to be "the entertainment source for young America." Or "a non-stop party." Or a million other things. But these aspirations are ours, not our consumers. We must remember to look inside the consumer's head. And to successfully position a product for minds everyone else wants to occupy in the age of overcommunication, it must be a simple message. Often, positioning a product is easier when that product has competitors -Avis "tries harder," Lite Beer is "everything you want, and less," 7-Up is the "uncola,"etc. But MTV is "Music Television," and nothing else is. So MTV has no competitors. Right? Wrong!

The Environment Defines the Competition MTV exists in an environment where there is more choice available than ever before. Cable television. Often, cable programmers try to draw a distinction between cable and broadcast. Cable means choice and modernity, broadcast means less choice and tradition. But these programmers identify the environment in their terms, not consumers' terms. More and more, the difference between broadcast and cable will blur in consumers' minds, and for our children, who will never see a TV dial and won't know the limitations of the VHF 2-13 band, the distinction may not exist at all. WTBS is shows, just like Channel 2. So is USA Network and Lifetime. And when the Pay services show movies you don't want, they may as well not be there at all. For real consumers, television is television. And there are certain things about television that MTV isn't. WATCHING TELEVISION IS: • • • • • Making a commitment (a half-hour -- or hour -- commitment). Putting up with the shows they feed you. Watching things that aren't for you (they are mass audience). Not listening to music. Predictable.

WATCHING MTV IS: • • • • • A small, or short, commitment. No shows. Or, a new show every three minutes. Watching something that's for you. Music. Reliable, not predictable.

Simplifying the Message We have to put all of these differentiating characteristics into a simple message. Because we can't list them all for consumers whenever we want to talk to them. And because they aren't all that meaningful to consumers, who never think about things like "commitments" when they hit the remote button. We need one word that instantly identifies us and our competition to our audience. We know what we are: MTV. So what is the competition, all those other TV channels out there? There is only one word to describe them: Normal. When programmers talk of "Miami Vice" as having MTV attitude, they mean "not like normal cop shows." When commercials are said to have and MTV look, it means disjointed, disconnected, musically-rhythmic but not linear or logical -- in other words, "not like normal commercials." It's Normal TV vs. MTV

Normal TV and MTV Normal TV is boring. • • • • • • • • It let's you down. It makes you wait for what you want. It's never surprising. It all looks the same. It's for old people or my little brother. It's phony and hype-y. It's dumb and old-fashioned. It's not mine.

MTV is alive and looks interesting. • • • • • • • It's always there when I want it. Sometimes, it can really surprise you. They really do some different-looking things in the videos. It's for people like me. I can believe what they say. It's very up-to-date and state-of-the-art. It's my MTV.

Normal TV vs. MTV MTV is relief from Normal TV. • It's a quick break from Normal TV. • It's mine, and Normal TV belongs to everybody. • It's more stuff I like, and Normal TV is more stuff I hate. • It's music, and Normal TV isn't. • It's for people like me and my friends, and Normal TV isn't. • It's cool, and Normal TV is dumb. • It has "it," and Normal TV doesn't.

Normal TV or MTV. This simple statement provides MTV with a benchmark against which everything about and for the network can be judged; • Programs • Specials • Promotions • Contests • Advertising • Staffing And it has value beyond promotion and advertising; • It supports and encourages MTV's fundamental strength as a risk-taker. • It guarantees that MTV will never evolve into "normal TV." • It is used as a common vision throughout the company to ensure that MTV will always deliver on this promise.

The End.

Assignment: POSITIONING NICK-AT-NITE Agency: Fred/Alan Inc. Date: 1987 Positioning document written by Alan Goodman I’ve worked on a lot of networks, but Nick-at Nite is one I truly enjoyed. The idea of America’s first oldies television channels scared a lot of people; my partner and I tried to sell a broadcast version of it to ABC for at least two years. But we loved TV so much we kept trying. The idea of seeing the good stuff again was appealing to us and, with not too much persuasion, the whole Nickelodeon staff. If only the ad-sales department agreed. Even though Nick-at-Nite solved a huge problem of what to do--efficiently--with the nighttime Nickelodeon satellite time, and the high ratings proved that American cable consumers loved--loved--the idea, the sales department insisted that they couldn’t sell spots on a network of “reruns,” and certainly not “reruns in black & white!” They tried to change the network to “all comedies” but found that the promotion people (led by Betty Cohen, by the way) and programmers couldn’t find as good an approach as “TV for the TV Generation.” This positioning paper was written after the dust settled to give everyone working on Nick-at-Nite a re-grounding in what the network was, and how to communicate the attitude of America’s first oldies TV station.

Positioning Nick-At-Nite
Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc., New York

1987

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

POSITIONING CHALLENGES

Accurately reflect the interests of the target audience. Develop a statement to guide program acquisition, promotion, advertising. Develop a statement broad enough to accommodate future original programming. Create a hook without the negatives of "rerun channel" or "classic television" or "TV for the TV generation." Or comedy.

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

POSITIONING EXAMPLES

We knew what MTV, VH-1 and NICKELODEON were as channels before they were positioned for an audience.

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

POSITIONING EXAMPLE--MTV MTV--A Video music channel. POSITIONING--The home of irreverence, juvenile delinquency, surprise and energy. The opposite of anything you would expect to find on conventional television. Summed up in the phrase "MTV vs. Normal TV."

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

POSITIONING EXAMPLE --VH-1 VH-1- - a video music channel. POSITIONING - - Seen entirely in relation to its precedent-setting and predominant sister, MTV. If MTV is fiery-hot, VH-1 is cool -blue. If MTV is youthful and energetic, VH-1 is older and more relaxed. Summed up in the phrase "The Other Music Television."

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

POSITIONING EXAMPLE --NICKELODEON NICKELODEON-- A kid's channel POSITIONING -- For kids from a kid's point of view. Come to us to relax, be yourself, escape from the adult world. Summed up in the phrase 'Us vs. Them."

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

WHAT IS NICK-AT-NITE?

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

NICK-AT-NITE -- A LOT TO OVERCOME

Programs are old. black and white reruns not even popular enough for syndication

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

NICK AT NIGHT -- A LOT TO RECOMMEND
Programs are mostly situation comedies. quality shows remembered by a significant, targetable group. surrounded by promotion as inventive and entertaining as the shows themselves. New shows and specials are being created to take advantage of the unique environment Nick-At-Nite allows.

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

DEFINING "NICK-AT-NITE"

What works about "Nick-At-Nite" -Old shows. Ridiculous promotion around old shows. Absurd advertising for old shows. "Nick-At-Nite" does the unthinkable-IT PRETENDS TV HAS MEANING IN OUR LIVES What "Nick-At-Nite" has done more successfully than anything is bring importance to the most disposable thing we have in America. Showing black & white TV shows that are 25 years old --AND PROMOTING THEM --contemporizes the shows. Knowing we are watching something that doesn't fit in today's world and being completely self-conscious about our enjoyment of it is the essence of "Nick-At-Nites's appeal. "How to be Donna Reed" is a contemporary reaction to watching and enjoying Donna Reed.
Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

"Car 54 Training Camp" starring Al Lewis is a contemporary reaction to watching and enjoying "Car 54. "

DEFINING NICK-AT-NITE -TWO EXAMPLES OF ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING

TV COMEDY TEST -- While the National Health Test Show and National Driving Test Show tested people's knowledge of elements important to real life, Nick-At-Nite used the same format to test our knowledge of the phony, make -believe garbage we love on TV. KINGPINS -- A lampoon of every game show ever, and every bowling show ever. KINGPINS could never have existed if other (straight) bowling shows hadn't come first.

NICK-AT-NITE DOESN'T EXIST IN A REAL WORLD. NICK-AT-NITE EXISTS IN A TV WORLD.

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

WHAT WE'RE LIKE

The same way David Letterman is self-conscious about being a talk show, and Garry Shandling is self-conscious about being a sitcom, and Saturday Night Live is self-conscious about being a variety show, Nick-At-Nite is self-conscious about being a network.

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

DEFINING NICK-AT-NITE

All of us involved in creating the programming, promotion and advertising for Nick-At-Nite, do all that we do for all the right reasons-With all the best intentions-after getting all the best research-And believe in it. Wholeheartedly and completely. But all along the way, we hear this nagging voice in our heads: "COME ON, YOU'RE KIDDING, RIGHT? THIS IS REALLY ALL A GAG, RIGHT? WE DON'T REALLY WORK IN TV, DO WE? NOBODY IN THEIR RIGHT MINDS WOULD EVER GIVE US THE MONEY TO REALLY DO THIS WOULD THEY?"

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

NICK-AT-NITE IS:

In love with television, Even misses the test patterns. Michael Keaton's favorite television channel. (?) A night light. An inside joke. Just like the Museum of Broadcasting, if the Museum had a fridge with beer. Where all the TV cliches echo fondly. A theme park, not a network.

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

NICK-AT-NITE is like Fantasyland or Adventureland It's TV LAND.

Nick-At-Nite positioning statement:

“HELLO OUT THERE FROM TV LAND!”

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

"HELLO OUT THERE FROM TV LAND!"
It's funny. It says we're funny. But we could still run Bonanza. It's a phrase baby boomers might remember. It's upbeat, says this is fun stuff. It suggests that Nick-At-Nite is a place, a home.

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

WHAT THIS MEANS TO PROGRAM ACQUISITION AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT

It provides a broader palette than just comedies, so long as our attitude about promoting them stays the same. (We can never become too reverent or important. Remember, this is a theme park, where they sell cotton candy). It's a barometer. Nick-At-Nite shows aren't just television, they're about television.

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

WHAT THIS MEANS TO CABLE OPERATORS

"Nick-At-Nite" is a channel that programs for consumers the most consistently appealing genre of programming (comedies), and feels about TV the way they do themselves. It is a "high-concept" service exclusive to cable TV.

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

WHAT THIS MEANS TO ADVERTISERS

"Nick-At-Nite" is an environment buy, similar to MTV and Nickelodeon. They buy the network, the attitude, the promotions and specials, the mood and emotion, not the black and white reruns.

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

WHAT THIS MEANS TO CONSUMERS

"Nick-At-Nite" is a place they want to go to. It cuts through the clutter of 36 network choices It is a channel whose philosophy will draw viewers without asking them to analyze the value of an individual program.

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

It has a better opportunity to become a "first choice" channel for channel switchers than anything else "Nick-At-Nite" can do right now.

The End.

Written by Alan Goodman for Fred/Alan, Inc. NY 1987

Assignment: POSITIONING HANNA-BARBERA, INC. Agency: Hanna-Barbera Creative Corps Date: 1994 Positioning document written by Bill Burnett Hanna-Barbera was an amazing company build from scratch by two veteran cartoon directors, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. By 1980 they had built the largest library of cartoons in the world, and commanded a market share of over 70%. But three owners and two well financed competitors later, the share had dipped below 7%, and the company was involved in movies, TV, animated, live action, kids, adults, family, you name it. Turner Broadcasting System purchased the company in 1991 and became determined to do what it does best: create value in tired assets by focusing energies and resources. The positioning here was created to remind the company of its roots and what it does best, often the best strategy for winning.

HANNA-BARBERA

WHO ARE WE?
(Hint: The answer lies somewhere in the question) Revised 2/16/95

A quick refresher course.

Why position?
Positioning is essential to the success of any product. It is especially important when the “product” is entertainment. Properly done, it should serve as the yardstick against which we measure every decision. Internally, positioning should guide us by helping us answer these questions: What kind of company are we? What do we do? What do we say? What do we look like? What do we sound like? Who is our audience? What kind of product should we make? What kind of product should we not make--even if it has value-- because it’s simply “not us”? Externally, positioning should help define us to the world. What can the public expect from a Hanna-Barbera product? Why should they even go to see it? What unique quality do we offer that you can’t get anywhere else?

Why is this position harder than others?
At Hanna-Barbera we’re confronting unique problems, because our positioning must serve as a bridge between our past, our present, and our future. We already hold a place in the minds and hearts of the world. We must maintain what’s good about that current perception, and eliminate what’s bad. We also have to be able to live with what we decide today, and give ourselves room to evolve into the next century. And whatever we decide on must have the ring of truth.

“Audiences respond when they hear the ring of truth.”
A positioning sage Hanna-Barbera can’t be the Out-of-Left-Field Cartoon Studio--the Raw Magazine of animation--because our heritage won’t allow it. We also can’t be the Middle-Of-The-Road Cartoon Studio--the Sears of animation-because we won’t allow it. We demand more. Ten years from now we want to look back on a body of work that cracks us up and knocks our own socks off. That’s why we came to work here. So...we must position ourselves as something we actually are, and aspire to be something we actually can be. Time for a look at history....

THE HISTORY OF HANNA-BARBERA GOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS:
We’re Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. We’re cartoonists. We knocked around individually for a while. Then we teamed up at MGM and things started really happening for us. We created Tom & Jerry, a cat and mouse team. They were adversaries, but they were undeniably a team. We won seven Oscars with our cat and mouse team. We became the heads of an animation unit at MGM. We are the only significant directing team in the history of cartoons.

When theatrical cartoons were on death’s door:
We refused to go gently into th-th-th-that’s all folks. We stuck together and came up with a way to make cartoons viable for TV. We created a studio: Hanna-Barbera. There were two names on the door. It was a team effort. We created a whole string of tremendously successful cartoons. And, guess what? Most of them were teams: Ruff and Reddy; Yogi and Boo Boo; Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy; Fred and Wilma; Fred and Barney; Pebbles and Bamm Bamm ...the list goes on and on. We’re still here thirty years later. We don’t run the company anymore, but we still actively contribute to it, and our team spirit still guides it.

HOW IS HANNA-BARBERA’S HISTORY DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER MAJOR ANIMATION STUDIOS?
The first-person plural can not be applied with any credibility to Disney or Warner Bros. Those studios dealt in loners.

The Existential Loner...with helpers
Walt Disney may have shared the business side of things with his brother, but creatively and promotionally it was always a one man show. And his studio’s work reflects that. Mickey Mouse never had a relationship with Minnie that remotely resembled the heartfelt emotions Fred feels for Wilma and Barney. Donald and his nephews were basically just about shtick. Compare them to Yogi and Boo Boo. After decades of cartoons, none of the basic Disney stable of shorts players has any relationship you could really put your finger on.

And as for the Disney feature film characters... • • • • • Snow White was the benevolent boss of the seven dwarfs--not their friend. Bambi was existentially alone in the forest. Pinnochio went alone into the world too. Jimminy Cricket was his conscience, not a full blown character. Dumbo--same thing: A freak with a minute conscience character telling him what to do. Cinderella: Alone with a cruel step-family and a menagerie of subservient helpers.

Only Lady and the Tramp, of all the Disney classics, approaches the we’re-in-thistogether feeling that can be found in nearly every Hanna-Barbera cartoon. But even here, most of the film involves Lady confronting a hostile world alone...with helpers. She and the Tramp are opposites, drawn together by circumstance, who form a “happy”, if uneasy, alliance at the end.

Disney Studios has not strayed from this Existential-loner-with-helpers formula.
Something in that formula spoke to Walt Disney. It had the ring of truth. The audience heard the ring of truth and responded. They are still responding today. Disney’s latest films follow their tried and true formula slavishly, and their success speaks for itself.

“Audiences respond when they hear the ring of truth.”
That positioning sage again

The Looney Loner
Warner Bros. built their studio around the Looney Loner. Their characters tended to be unpredictable wackos, rebels and mavericks...like the people who created them. • • Bugs Bunny was Groucho--the third of the Marx Brothers who was always on his own. Fearless, utterly unpredictable, anchored to nothing. Daffy was the flip side of the same coin. The two-man shtick Bugs or Daffy got into with Elmer Fudd and their other antagonists went no deeper than the banter between Groucho and Margaret Dumont. It was hilarious, inspired, but not sincere. Sylvester and Tweety were not chums deep down, they way Tom & Jerry were. Neither were the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote. This was just the ultimate chase and gadget gag repeated brilliantly ad infinitum.

• •

The Looney Loner formula had the ring of truth for Leon Schlesinger’s cartoon unit.
The audience heard the ring of truth and responded. And they continue to respond. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies continue to be great crowd pleasers wherever they go.

“Audiences respond when they hear the ring of truth.”
Same sage, one page later

(But it’s interesting to note, if only for the sake of discussion, that, unlike Disney, Warner Bros. has not remained true to its formula. Recently reopened under the wing of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Productions, they’ve dropped the formula of proud, dangerous Looney Loners who might explode at any moment. The neoWarner characters seen on Animaniacs and Tiny Toons come in groups. They have next-to-no individual identity. And they’re very surface. They declare themselves to be zany from the get-go, and constantly make self-referential comments. The classic Warner stars simply were zany and only occasionally broke the fourth wall. What will be the fate of the neo-Warners cartoons? Time will tell.) But enough of this pontificating. What can we learn from all this?

WE ARE “WE”
We are a team. That’s what separates Hanna-Barbera from the rest of the animation pack. The essential ingredient is the word “we”. The question isn’t “What is Hanna-Barbera?” The question is “Who are we?” Let’s explore this idea further...

We are the descendants of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. They were a team. We are a team. They were the rescuers of cartoons. We have set out to be the rescuers of cartoons. Therefore, here’s what we can legitimately claim... We are First in TV Cartoons. (And all the other firsts we can think of.) We are Cartoon Heroes, figuratively and actually. We are Funny Cartoons.

We are Adventure Cartoons.

We are Classic Cartoons.

We are New Cartoons.

We are Serious About Cartoons.

WE ARE CARTOONS

Hanna-Barbera: We Are Cartoons
This is a concept so simple that, at first, it seems stupid. That’s often a good sign. HANNA-BARBERA IS CARTOONS doesn’t mean the same thing. THE CARTOON COMPANY doesn’t mean the same thing. WE ARE CARTOONS says that there is a “We”--starting with Bill and Joe and evolving into us, today, tomorrow, as far as the eye can see. It says that We Are something definite, and that the something definite is Cartoons. We may do other things--books, movies, dolls, clothes, etc. But our ancillary products always stem from cartoons or take us back to cartoons because we are cartoons. It bridges our past, present and future. It provides a guide for how we should see ourselves and what we should do. It defines our audience to us--kids It defines us to our audience And it has the ring of truth.

“Audiences respond when they hear the ring of truth.”
The sage strikes again

Not totally convinced?

Let’s take a look at how the current Hanna-Barbera is taking shape...

What have we done for us lately?
The primary new productions that have emerged recently, or are about to emerge, from HannaBarbera 2 Stupid Dogs & Swat Kats--Comedy and adventure cartoon teams What A Cartoon shorts--48 New productions in the classic funny cartoon mold, many of which feature teams (George & Junior, Powerpuff Girls, Cow & Chicken, etc.) Jonny Quest--a team that carries on the tradition the adventure cartoon form we invented in the ’60s. The Jetsons--One of the classic funny cartoon teams.

We are remaining true to our heritage. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera made funny and exciting cartoons featuring teams. We’re making funny and exciting cartoons featuring teams. We should continue to do so.

And what about our parent in Atlanta?
What about our larger corporate profile? We are a wholly owned subsidiary of Turner Broadcasting. Which is owned by Ted Turner. Ted Turner is a team kind of guy. Not that he doesn’t make mny autocratic decisions--he does. But look what those decisions have created--a team of networks that, together, form one of the most powerful forces in cable TV. He purchases properties, not to pillage and lay waste, but to increase the strength of his team. Ted Turner perceives Hanna-Barbera as a valuable part of his team. That’s one of our major strengths. By being part of the TBS team, we can form alliances, like the one we have formed with the Cartoon Network for “What-A-Cartoon”. Again, this may seem stupefyingly simple. But compare our situation to, say, David Letterman a year ago. He wasn’t part of the NBC team. GE doesn’t have Ted Turner’s team spirit. And now they don’t have David Letterman. Real team spirit is a rarity. By the way, Ted Turner also saw fit to buy the Atlanta Braves--a team if ever there was one. And he goes to the games.

How about our audience?
Kids are our audience. Always have been, always will be. We aim to become kids experts, and provide a world of Hanna-Barbera products for kids. All of our contact with kids will stem from cartoons. Kids love cartoons. Kids love teams. Why? Cartoons For reasons that remain mysterious, cartoons land squarely on kid psyche. Many adults like cartoons, but virtually all kids eat ’em up. Teams Teams represent comraderie, family, community. Teams are warm and cold, in and out, exclusive and inclusive at the same time. A team is something you can belong to. You can love Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you can’t belong to him or with him. Same with Pee We Herman, Robocop, Batman--even Bugs Bunny. But you can belong with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, You can belong with the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the Three Musketeers--or The Flintstones.

Hanna-Barbera: our very name is a team.
Our body of work is full of pairs, groups, teams. If we can plant the idea in the public’s mind that we are the place where their kids find fun and friendship and dependable entertainment, they’ll love us...even when we screw up. Because we’ll be their team. Ask any Chicago Cubs fan.

But does “We Are Cartoons” do all that?
Is We Are Cartoons a strong enough phrase on its own to put across our team message? Well, let’s take a look at some alternatives:

HANNA-BARBERA The Cartoons People HANNA-BARBERA The Cartoon Team HANNA-BARBERA We Are Your Cartoon Team HANNA-BARBERA Teaming up to make Cartoons HANNA-BARBERA The Team That’s Teeming With Cartoons
Hmmm...Nothing really inspiring. Let’s take a look at We Are Cartoons in action and see how it fairs...

We Are Cartoons!

We Are Cartoons!

We Are Cartoons!

On the preceding page, an interesting interplay takes place. At the top we see Top Cat alone, above the slogan We Are Cartoons! It feels pretty good. Not pompous or over promising. Fun. The next level shows Fred and Huck in rectangles flanking an oval of T-Bone. There is an energy here. The two classic characters seem to be looking at the newcomer affectionately. Their approval softens T-Bone, and T-Bone’s attitude heightens the hipquotient for Fred and Huck. On the third level, two ovals of Jonny Quest and T-Bone flank two rectangles of Yogi and Top Cat. Here we get a real group energy, and a quick glimpse of the range of our company. Jonny Q’s pose seems to point us left to right. There is a sense of history. The full scope of our company is suddenly being defined. This mixing and matching of logo shapes, styles characters and eras can go on indefinitely.

WE are cartoons! we ARE cartoons! we are CARTOONS!
This statement swings no matter where you put the em-PHA-sis...

WE are cartoons!
We’re that studio in Hollywood. We are the team who invented the television cartoon and won the hearts of kids around the world. We are the ones who gave birth to The Flintstones and a host of other timeless characters. We are the raw young talents working on making new cartoons to delight a whole new generation of cartoon lovers.

We ARE cartoons!
Disney is theme parks in California and Florida, and live-action feature films, and a cable channel, and animated features. Warner Bros. is a wonderful old library and a bunch of “Toons” by Seven Spielberg. Only one word springs to mind when you think of Hanna-Barbera: cartoons. Cartoons are our very being. We couldn’t give them up if we tried.

We are CARTOONS!
When you say it that way you just have to define the word. Here’s what “cartoons” means to us: Cartoons are popular Most of the films that appear in animation festivals are not cartoons, because they don’t have mainstream appeal. We only want to make cartoons that will appeal to a large audience, made up mostly of kids. Cartoons are either Funny or Exciting. Yogi Bear is funny. Jonny Quest is exciting. They are both cartoons. Funny Cartoons are usually short. Cartoons began as a short artform.Seven minutes is still the cartoon’s optimum length. Many half-hour funny cartoon shows are made up of short segments. Cartoons depict a world all their own. Cartoons aren’t exaggerated satires of the real world. They are an unreal world, filled with events that couldn’t possibly happen in reality. The Flintstones is a half-hour cartoon. The Simpsons is not a cartoon, it’s an animated sitcom. What’s the difference? If Homer Simpson tried to power his car with his feet, he wouldn’t be able to. Space Ghost is a cartoon because it’s exciting, short, and unrealistic. Jonny Quest almost isn’t a cartoon, because of its Indiana Jones-like reality. The new Jonny Quest series makes the cartoon cut thanks to the addition of the virtual reality segments, along with the fact that no ordinary boy could ever have the type of adventures that Jonny has. So, at Hanna-Barbera, a cartoon is a short, unrealistic piece of animation that is funny or exciting and popular. Anything that does not meet that criteria is not a cartoon. Now, I know what you’re thinking...

Does this mean we can’t do anything except “Cartoons”?
Yes, it does, to this extent: We must not do anything that doesn’t stem from cartoons. If we publish books they must be based on cartoons, or be about cartoons, or be able to become a cartoon. The same goes for clothes, games, software, food, theme parks, hotel chains--anything we might someday produce or be involved with. If it doesn’t have cartoons at its root, or ultimately take us back to cartoons, we don’t do it. Example: If we had been involved with making the live action movie Dumb and Dumber, we could have justified that decision by reasoning that it would be a cartoon-y movie that could eventually become a real cartoon, and that the cartoon might well have a longer life and generate more revenues than the feature. That same reasoning could not be used to justify making, say, “Fried Green Tomatoes”. So, the conclusion?

WE ARE CARTOONS WORKS!
It expresses our unique position in the field of animation. It serves as a guide for what we should do in all areas of our company. It serves as a bridge between our past, present, and future. It defines our target audience--kids It doesn’t limit us. It will help us fulfill our business objectives: Attract Talent to create Hits to make Money. It has the ring of truth. And to quote that positioning sage...

“Audiences respond when they hear the ring of truth.”