In advertising, especially in local TV news advertising, authenticity can sometimes be elusive. See how KIRO created authenticity in a promo from start to finish.
When Brandon Bidwell and Alicia Collins were tasked with creating a news image promo for KIRO, Cox’s CBS affiliate in Seattle, they were instructed to do something different to cut through the clutter.
Who hasn’t heard that before?
In the world of branding local TV news, how does one make itself stand out?
In the minds of Bidwell and Collins, creative services writer/producers at KIRO, that meant not creating “your typical news promo,” Bidwell says. “We wanted a promo that was coming from a place of authenticity,” he says. “So that is where the starting point was. No buzzwords.”
In advertising, especially in local TV news advertising, authenticity can sometimes be elusive.
But if we want news viewers to feel a connection with our product—its accuracy, fairness, commitment to professional journalism, authenticity—where do local TV marketing people start?
“Alicia and I both came to the table with different ways of approaching this,” Bidwell says. Being marketing people, they started with a great script, Bidwell says.
“But if someone is reading this, how authentic is that?” he says. So, they shifted gears. They realized that the authenticity they were looking for was on display every day in the newsroom, in the people involved in the news coverage process and in the product itself.
First, they wondered what “questions viewers would be asking, things they would expect out of news coverage,” Bidwell says.
They poured through news stories the station covered to find people who were showing “either gratitude for getting their opinions out there or they were glad hearing all sides of the story,” he says.
Then they talked to Monique Ming Laven and Aaron Wright, KIRO’s main evening anchor team, to capture their thoughts and opinions about what viewers want.
“There was no coaching or preparation, or anything like that,” Bidwell says. “It was their own words. I mean their answers were on the spot.”
Bidwell and Collins wanted to know what Laven and Wright would tell viewers when asked about KIRO’s news coverage philosophy.
“They are the main point of contact with viewers,” Bidwell says. “Viewers see them so if they have something they want to say to the station, they contact the anchors to let them know. They know exactly what the viewers want and what the viewers are concerned about, so they were a great resource because of that direct contact with viewers.”
Bidwell and Collins probed deeper.
“We also asked them what their goals were when they came into work every day, what did they want to achieve,” Collins says.
She says they got some great responses, “even better than what we would have scripted.”
Then they went into the KIRO newsroom, cameras in hand, cinema verité style. Shooting took a while.
“We didn’t take any extra lights with us,” Bidwell says. “That was very intentional. We didn’t want anything to be doctored up. We just wanted it to be the way it was in that moment, so nothing in there was staged. We were just capturing all kinds of moments, conversations and meetings of the news team.”
Then it was time to edit it all together.
“Surprisingly, the edit went together pretty quickly and easily,” Bidwell says. “The reaction right off the top was really good. The anchors liked being in a promo where they can just be themselves.”
No scripts, no buzzwords, no coaching and nothing staged. Real moments of the news team in action. Real answers from anchors in their own words. Sounds like authenticity.
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