Fusion Network Scores With "We Wrote You A Song To Tell You About Ourselves"
Experienced parents, help me out here: Have any academic or civic organizations issued parental protocols for Halloween night comportment while trick-or-treating with one's children? Am I expected to tone down my behavior and/or costume so as not to offend neighborhood mores? I ask because the gals at the community college down the road, who have refashioned themselves for the holiday as a marauding army of sexy nurse-maid-witches, have inspired me. I'll be dressing up as a slutty sea lion, which frees me to shout "arf! arf! arf!" and lap daddy juice from a lightly soiled feedbowl borrowed from the petting zoo. The kid's not yet old enough to realize that his father is a profoundly mortifying being, so I need to milk tonight for all it's worth. My wife is going as my handler. This isn't a costume so much as a second job.
in the 'burbs is a different animal than it is in the big city. There, I donned a single ingenious costume ("person inside deadbolted and unlit apartment, who hopes the noise from the TV can't be
heard by anyone who would bogart my Reese's stash"). Out here, by contrast, I feel a responsibility to rise to the sublime celebratory standards set by the community. To that end, I purchased exactly
four pumpkins and have displayed them proudly at the foot of the front door. And, of course, I spent the week - graceless-segue-into-bulk-of-
Yet amid this cavalcade of holiday whimsy, somehow the most clever video I came across has nothing to do with Halloween, nor with an established brand or, really, anything that remotely interests me. It's the clip introducing Fusion, a new Millennials-focused cable network that debuted in 20 million homes on Monday night.
"We Wrote You A Song To Tell You About Ourselves" faces the proverbial uphill battle to get seen (and, in this case, heard). Not only does it arrive during a week when seasonally attuned brands are at their chirpiest, but it has a tough product to hawk. It's not like anybody is clamoring for another youth-oriented basic-cable channel promising depth and mirth in equal doses, plus the name Fusion has been co-opted by berry-tinged energy drinks.
Kudos to the network, then, for ignoring these concerns and wielding the self-deprecation scalpel as easily as any brand in recent memory. The musical clip, in which too-hot-for-cable performers identified as Fusion worker bees (VP production, etc.) warble and prance their way around the network's offices, hits the nifty perfecta of doling out broad entertainment and marketing-wonk statements of purpose in equal measure (actual verse: "When the time to segment Fusion's target demographic came/we at first thought young Hispanics were our core/then we ran it up the flagpole and decided we should aim/at Millennials 18-to-34"). It announces Fusion's arrival as a fully formed personality.
That's a huge asset in the faceless world of basic-cable brands. Don't buy it? Turn on your TV right now and flip to whatever network occupies channel 117. I'm guessing you landed on something like Discovery Planes and Boats. Beyond the information conveyed by its moniker, what else can you glean about the way the network goes about its business? If a network never bothers to brand itself - and lacks a defining Mad Men-like piece of programming - it leaves itself at the mercy of viewers who have 620 other diversions within arm's length. "Air it and they will come" ain't the rallying cry it was back in 1978. Fusion, unlike any number of recently launched media brands, appears to understand this.
"We Wrote A Song" also underlines the importance of hiring talented folks (as opposed to a generic production house) to work on brand content. The clip was produced by one of the original This Is SportsCenter guys and the song was written by the team that gave us A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All. That advanced level of creativity is evident ten seconds in, when a Very Important Executive sings that the network's "carefully iconoclastic logo has appeared" and punctuates the announcement by cartwheeling over a low cubicle wall. Meanwhile, as far as punchy choruses go, "We're Fusion, the corporate godchild of ABC-Disney and Univision/Two media giants synergistically making a joint decision" can stand proudly alongside "Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand."
Flashy musical numbers designed to bolster a brand are a hit-or-miss proposition - I defy any traveler to watch all five laborious minutes of Virgin America's latest musical safety video extravaganza without bolting for the exit aisle - which makes Fusion's achievement here all the more impressive. Throw in a rare press-release funny - "Fusion's audience will be invited to send in its own versions of the musical number. The best ones will be featured on Fusion's The Morning Show - the highest rated morning show on Fusion" - and I'm totally charmed. I have no idea if Fusion's programming will appeal to me as a viewer, but "We Wrote A Song" makes me an unabashed fan of the brand. Other media properties oughta be taking notes.