WDJT’s “Don’t Watch Us” news promo calls out the excess of crime coverage in the market and says that’s not us. “Telling someone not to watch your TV station is going to capture their attention,” says Thomas Wegmann, WDJT’s creative services director. And it’s working.
You’ve probably never seen a local TV news image promo that says, “Don’t watch us.”
But that’s the unusual message behind a spot that starting airing in September on WDJT, Weigel Broadcasting’s CBS affiliate in Milwaukee.
“We really wanted to be disruptive with this spot, and I really feel this spot stands out in a commercial break,” says Thomas Wegmann, WDJT’s creative services director.
The idea for the promo came out of a brainstorming session with creative services, the general manager and news director when they were discussing reasons to watch WDJT.
Wegmann says that led to “the things we are not going to do. Telling someone not to watch your TV station is going to capture their attention. We really want to hit people over the head with this.”
The “this” Wegmann refers to is the crime-driven content or the minor fender benders disguised as breaking news offered by the other unnamed TV stations in the market, he says.
It’s not that WDJT won’t cover crime, but that it will be focused “on getting a solution, getting justice for the families, telling victims stories and not glorifying the “‘f it bleeds, it leads attitude,’” Wegman says.
WDJT followed up the “who we’re not” message with a 60-second brand promo that lays out who they are.
“The goal was to communicate the hometown brand as clearly and concisely as possible,” Wegmann says.
And who better to explain that than the news director, Jessie Garcia, who was an on-air news talent in Milwaukee for many years prior to being named WDJT’s news director.
“She is a hometown name and so to be our brand — your hometown station — it just works,” says Justin Lund, WDJT’s creative manager.
“Viewers are sure to recognize a familiar face that they know and trust,” Wegmann says.
Going forward, the station is creating proof of brand spots to “give people a sample of our news product,” Wegmann says. “These aren’t necessarily stories that are leading our newscasts, just perfect brand demonstrations of what we are doing. It’s a great way to reinforce and encourage sampling.”
Wegmann says he believes viewers are getting the message, anecdotally at least. “It is starting to sink in with the audience definitely,” he says. “We are definitely seeing some feedback [like] ‘I see what you guys are doing, and I like it.’”
And Wegmann says since the campaign started, the late news on WDJT has seem some growth.
“We have definitely seen some strides,” Wegmann says. “I feel like the tide is starting to turn, the playing field is getting a little more level.”
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