I went to the APG Rob Clark talk yesterday. It's nice to be making the time to go to talks and the such again after a hectic summer. Rob Clark is the overlord of popular entertainment. I'm not sure if that's his official title, but he basically holds a very high position (not sure what) at Fremantle Media, who created the Idol, X-Factor and Got Talent franchises/brands. So a big deal in the world of telly.
It's always interesting to hear from people who don't work in your field. Firstly, a couple of random anecdotes/bits and pieces that made me smile:
- The fact that game shows were designed in the fifties to make housewives watch adverts. They are really quiet in the middle and get louder nearer the ad breaks, so they would think something was about to happen and come back to the telly.
- The idea that no entertainment genre that ever 'dies', it's just the format (i.e. Got Talent is essentially a variety show)
- And that formats can also live for a very long time, with the right nuturing/updating (mainly in the case of game shows)
- It was quite cool to see the pilot for Got Talent, which was 'Paul O'Grady's got Talent' - quite a different beast!
- Apparently you can play melodic tunes on the vuvuzela
- Networks tend to buy shows such as Family Fortunes (safe TV) as recession looms
The most interesting thing for me was how Rob Clark thinks about his 'shows', which are basically massive entetainment brands. He thinks about them in quite practical terms rather than the abstract terms favoured by brand consultancies and marketers. When pushed to define the essence of his shows, he uses generic category terms such as family or reality.
For Clark the point of differentiation, and therefore the brand, comes from strict executional parameters, from the colours which must be used on the backdrop, to the position of the buzzer, to the requirement of a 'weeper' on the panel (which is what makes X-Factor feel different from Idol, etc).
I know all brands have a brand book and guidelines that govern how it looks, but often our guiding principles when creating communications are from a brand key. It could be interesting to create worlds for our brands rather than get het up with creating a perfect sentence-long articulation of what our brand is. Just a thought.
And finally, the wheel of value:
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UPDATE: Just read Nic's post on the same event. Something I missed: "Viewers want to dig deeper beyond the schedule – sort of in the same way consumers want to engage with brands on their own terms in their own time."