Local TV marketers are navigating new territory so far in 2020 that few could have seen coming. In San Antonio, KSAT launched a campaign called the Trust Index, a vetting process to separate true reporting from false. And in Richmond, Va., after 36 days of civil unrest, WRIC tries a tricky approach to its marketing.
Local TV marketers are navigating new territory so far in 2020 that few could have seen coming. Now instead of branding spots about their news coverage, marketers are addressing issues like trust in the news media, police brutality, civil rights and the choice to wear a mask.
In San Antonio, Texas, David Cuccio, the creative services director for KSAT, Graham Media’s ABC affiliate, said one of the issues there is confusion. What to believe? What information can be trusted?
So the station launched the Trust Index.
“We promote this as a way to let our viewers know that all of our stories are run through a complete vetting process and we’ll brand it with ‘True’, ‘False’, or ‘Be Careful’, depending on what information our vetting process uncovers,” he said.
KSAT uncovered problems with the city’s police department, producing an hour-long special, Broken Blue.
Cuccio said that while viewers appreciate how much the station is there for them, what they really want to know is how it can help them. .
So the station launched a free online job bank, and “all of our KSAT Community events have turned into fundraisers for the Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, blood donations and help for children’s charities. We always offer this type of community service, but this year it’s all been raised to a much higher level.”
As far as local community events, the station had big plans, even hired an events coordinator. That job has shifted to a KSAT Deals website, offering special offers from local business to residents.
“The KSAT Deals program is just preparing to launch. Restaurants or retail stores which are hurting for business can purchase a spot for a nominal charge and offer deals on the inventory they have. This is how we plan to supplement all the events we’ve had to cancel and will also move our marketing to helping local businesses get some traffic back to their stores. We’re also reviewing the success of some drive-in events, which have had some success here. There’s a possibility we could sponsor a drive-in concert or movie in the future.”
In Richmond, Dixon Johnston said: “The bigger topic here in Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy, is the social unrest.”
Johnston is the creative services director at WRIC, Nexstar’s ABC affiliate there.
He said the city had 36 days of continuous protests, but the situation has calmed allowing for the community to move forward.
“It’s a tricky subject to promote. I’ve been relying on POPs [proof of performance] to show a new and sampling audience how we cover the unrest.”
Now everyone’s talking about how schools will work and how parents will manage it.
“We are revising our annual Back to School HQ campaign to focus on providing news and resources to families as they navigate a new way of schooling.”
NOTE: I’ve talked to more than a dozen local TV marketing executives from all over the country to get a sense of where their station’s marketing is now and where it’s going in the future. Look for these columns in the coming days all under the umbrella, The New Us. And if you have something you want to add about your station’s marketing during this uncertain time, let me know.
Click here to see Part 1.
WKMG, Graham media Group’s CBS affiliate in Orlando, Florida (DMA 18) is looking for an investigative journalist to join its multi-platform award-winning unit. This reporter must multi-task by delivering weekly reports on highly promotable topics while simultaneously researching and producing deep dive investigations. This candidate needs to be able to work efficiently and independently inside the framework of an established team. Candidates must display strong solution-oriented reporting and extensive data-driven skills. Click here for more specifics and how to apply.