Before you watch this first spot, you need some history.
Its roots go all the way back to the 1980s when a concept promo called Home Movies was created for WPVI, ABC’s Philadelphia O&O.
The idea is that a family visits the Philadelphia area and shoots some home movies of their trip. Then they’re at home watching the movies when they notice that everywhere they went, a news van managed to work its way into the shot.
“It’s a great example of a simple, single idea that’s well-executed,” said Mike Davis, the man who originated the spot.
The holidays are behind us, a New Year is in front of us, and it’s time to get down to business. So I went searching to find the latest promos from TV stations across the country.
Let’s start with this very timely weather spot from WBZ, the CBS O&O in Boston, about how savage winter can be in New England. Keep in mind that Mt. Washington, N.H., the highest point east of the Mississippi, is one of the coldest spots on earth and recorded a wind chill of -97F the other day.
This is the final part of our five-part series, Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 4 here.
Across the country, millions of people watch the entertainment programming TV stations provide during the day and at night. So it makes sense for stations to promote their newscasts topically within all that programming in the hopes viewers will stay and watch the next newscast.
For years, this was the only means stations had to recruit news viewers with the news of the day, unless stations bought time on other media, like radio, print or cable.
Then came Facebook.
Facebook provides stations with another — and much more mobile — screen to reach potential news viewers.
Harvey Leonard, Ed Harding, Maria Stephanos and Mike Lynch.
When you want to know what someone’s really like, ask the people they work with.
Your co-workers probably know you better than your wife and kids. Because, after all, you probably spend more time at work than at home.
That’s the creative behind these new image spots for the main anchor team from WCVB, Hearst’s ABC affiliate in Boston.
And they work. No hollow claims, no research-driven buzz words, only the observations of co-workers in their own words makes these spots, and the people in them, believable, real, and genuine.
Russ Nelligan, WCVB’s creative services director, says when anchors have been on the job long enough, it’s easy to assume everyone knows who they are.
“WCVB is blessed with people who have been reporting in Boston many years. We decided to take a step back and ‘introduce’ our anchor team to the viewers. We thought that having their co-workers drive the narrative was effective, in part because they really appreciate each other’s strengths.”
I was able to talk to Nelligan on the phone at length about these spots and I was struck by how well he knew the members of his main anchor team, anchors Maria Stephanos and Ed Harding, Chief Meteorologist Harvey Leonard, and Mike Lynch, WCVB’s spots director and anchor.
There’s an old adage about sales — a good salesman know his product, and you can tell that Nelligan knows his front-line people well. The only way that happens is to be around them in the newsroom.
“They are smart people and they are very genuine,” says Nelligan.
“You don’t have to be around Maria too long before you realize what an exceptional human being she is. She is the kind of person who you meet and all she does is ask about you. As a result, she just has this way of drawing people out.”
When talking about co-anchor Ed Harding, Nelligan says he’s been in the market a long time and is hard working. “Ed is just like this Energizer Bunny.”
Chief Meteorologist Harvey Leonard has been forecasting the weather in Boston and New England for 40 years. Nelligan says Leonard still gets excited when it’s about to snow.
“He is just really into it, but is so worried that people are depending on my forecast and I have got to get it right. The other meteorologists in town have just the utmost respect.”
According to Nelligan, Mike Lynch is an institution in Boston when it comes to covering the major pro sports teams, but “has carved out a niche covering high school sports for more than 30 years.”
WCVB, Hearst’s Boston ABC affiliate, was named Station of the Year, for the fifth consecutive year, at the annual Sound Bites Awards presentation by the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association.
In addition, WCVB won seven first-place awards and three merit awards for its work in news, promotion and community service.
“There is certainly no greater honor than being recognized by your peers for excellence in the work we do,” said Bill Fine, WCVB’s general manaer, “and I am grateful to the MBA for their recognition of the dedication and hard work of the entire team here at Channel 5.”