Commentary

No Stopping Cable Networks From Branding -- AND Rebranding

E! has a new brand theme: Pop of Culture. Not Pop Culture. Not Pop Up Culture. (That would be more of a VH1 thing, right?) In any event, the spelling/grammar check on this column is set to “ignore.”

E!’s new brand campaign shows that the network isn’t about just entertainment; it is about “pop” and “culture” -- with an interesting preposition (“of”) in between.

A new promo video provides some happy, bopping music and features the on-air talents of Chelsea Handler, Joel McHale, Joan Rivers, Ice-T and Nigel Lythgoe, Ryan Seacrest and the Kardashians, in both some special shoots in front of a white background, and in clips from network shows.

The E! logo is more or less the same -- morphing a big “E” into an exclamation mark. But now “Pop of Culture” sits right next to it.  Previously the “E” exclamation mark was married with the words “Entertainment Television” underneath.

“Our new look and programming plans are designed to more fully realize our brand’s potential and continue to build on our growth and success,” said the channel’s president, Suzanne Kolb, in a press release.

Well, culture by itself can be boring. But getting the pop of culture -- the sizzle, the exciting bit of the culture -- is better. Forget about plain old pop culture. The new variation doesn’t offer a deep process or character development from the likes of, say, “Keeping Up With Kardashians” or “Fashion Police.”   Nor should it.

In the wake of even more TV and video competition, cable networks continue to develop -- and redevelop -- strong brands for their programming efforts. “Content is everything,” we continue to be told by senior TV and media executives. But just as important is what an entertainment brand means to existing and future viewers.

Believe the voiceover then: “E” is the pulse of pop culture…We’ll make sure you don’t go for a minute without your pop of culture.” Still don’t get it? Right after this voiceover, Joel McHale spells it out for you: “Tagline."

1 comment about "No Stopping Cable Networks From Branding -- AND Rebranding".
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  1. Scott Reilley from SR Consulting, May 2, 2012 at 2:13 p.m.

    Wayne-Spot on.

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